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I enjoyed this thread a lot. Let’s be positive!

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"Warm Sun" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/10, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Warm Sun” Austin, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo is of the notebooks that are on my work desk. I was chatting with a friend about journaling and writing in notebooks, and I thought about the barriers that prevent me from writing more. And by writing, I don’t mean writing stories or the great American novel. But just jotting down reminders, practicing kana, doodling, etc.

And I realize that one of the big barriers for me is just the proximity of the notebook and pen. For instance, when my notebook is in my bag on the floor, that’s too far. However, if I keep the notebook on my desk, opened to a blank page and a pen resting on top, then I write a lot more.

It’s kind of like photography for me. Since my X100T is so small and easy to carry around, I almost always have it with me, and therefore I take more photos. It’s readily available all the time.

So, making the pen and paper easily accessible has been key so far this year. My notebook might not be the prettiest, but it’s functional and I enjoy writing in it. It’s just another small thing that makes life a little more fun.

I hope you had a nice day!


Enjoy Shooting

"Cold Front" Leander, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/16, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“Cold Front” Leander, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I watched a great video by Kevin Mullins in which he talks about simplifying the photographic process. I agree with a lot of what he says and his idea of letting the camera do most of the work, and you just concentrate on seeing the scene. He also talks about simplifying your gear and amount of kit you carry. I think once you stop thinking about gear, the photographic process gets simpler and purer, and also more enjoyable.

It’s kind of where I am at (and have been for a while) with my photography hobby. I’ve gone through the evolution of buying lots of gear and maximizing specs, lusting after the latest and greatest cameras and lenses, and collecting many different camera formats (and spending a fair bit of money). Then I started gravitating to smaller cameras, ditching gear, and eventually landed with my X100T, which doesn’t even have interchangeable lenses. And I love it! It’s been my go-to camera for the past few years. I don’t need anything more than this. When I travel, I take this one camera, a couple batteries, and I am all set. It makes traveling much more enjoyable!

"Trusty" Cedar Park, 2017
“Trusty” Cedar Park, 2017

I am on a journey to simplify my life, and simplifying my main hobby of photography is a great step in the right direction.

Today’s photo is of the sky as a cold front arrived in Texas. The temperature will drop about 40 degrees in just 12 hours! Brrrr….

Keep warm!


Yakisoba and Face Study

"Yakisoba Dinner" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Yakisoba Dinner” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Tonight Mariko made a huge portion of yakisoba for the family. Our younger son (13) eats a lot these days, but he’s still so skinny. I think he had maybe 4 servings!

We have a really awesome electric hotplate, which has a number of different pans, including a yakiniku grill. It also has a water pan underneath so that things don’t get too messy. But tonight (and two nights ago) we just used the flat pan. It’s so nice to be able to cook right at the table! 😀

After dinner I sketched a bit while we watched the Dodger game. I wasn’t too happy with the previous night’s drawing. It looks really weird and the proportions and spacing are unnatural looking:

"Ugh" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Ugh” Cedar Park, 2017

The arrows indicate where things should move… but even after I did that digitally, it still looked wrong. Very stiff. So… I decided to look at the sketches of my favorite digital artist Ilya Kuvshinov to see how it should be done.

"Better" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Better” Cedar Park, 2017

I used one of his drawings as a reference to figure out the proportions and spacing, and I think I learned a lot. What is surprising to me is that I would have never drawn the face shape like Ilya does. So this is a real eye-opener! It’s so interesting to see where the curves of the cheek change direction. I need to take note of that. The shape I have been using in my sketches looks like a boring almond. But the face that I copied has a much more interesting shape, doesn’t it?

I also used a ruler to keep things level and centered, and also used a circle stencil to draw the irises. I think it makes a huge difference… especially the circles.

Tomorrow I would like to continue with this sketch and later try to replicate it without looking at a reference drawing and see if I can remember the proportions and face shape.

I’m really enjoying sketching, especially faces. It’s so fun! There’s a lot to take note of and remember when I look at drawings that I like. It’s difficult but really interesting and challenging to see the spatial relationships between different elements.

And learning new things makes me feel pretty good. I’m not sure why that is exactly, but I want to keep doing it.

To see all the sketches I've been working on, you can check out the Flickr album "My Sketching Journey", or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.  

I hope you had a nice Tuesday.


Have Fun Along the Way

"Traveler's Notebook and Fountain Pens" Austin, 2017
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/40 sec, ISO64
“Traveler’s Notebook and Fountain Pens” Austin, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

At my work, we have 6 core values, and my favorite one is “Have Fun Along the Way”. It’s actually a great value to live by, isn’t it? Anyway, whenever I pick up a new hobby, I tend to get obsessed with it and do so much research, watch videos about it, spend lots of money, etc. I’m sure I’m not alone in this! But what I am trying to do with my current watercolor/stationery hobby is to slow down, take it easy, and not go overboard. I want to make sure I don’t burn-out over it. And by going slowly, I make sure that I maximize the time that I am having fun along the way!

As I grow older (I am 48 as I type this), I start to think about making things last for the rest of my life. For instance, the things I buy like bags, penswatches, or sandals… will these last me (and will I want to keep them) for the rest of my life? That now goes into my purchasing decision.

And then I think about the things I do… will the new things I learn add anything to my life? I know that interests change, and that’s fine, but as the years go by it seems to be more important to focus on things that have real importance. When I was debating on whether or not to get the regular tickets or VIP tickets to see the band Scandal, my friend asked me, “When you are on your deathbed, are you going to be happier that you met the band or happier that you saved $50?” Of course, I bought the VIP tickets.

I think about that a lot when I have to choose things in daily life… “On my deathbed, will I be happier that I binge-watched another episode of Parks and Rec, or that I worked on a painting?”

When I was in high school and college, I loved creating things. And in my career, I’ve always had a job that involved creativity. I haven’t really given it too much thought to be honest. But it’s something that I can be proud of, and happy that I lived my life this way. So, my “new” hobby of watercolor painting is something I can fully enjoy, without any guilt. And it certainly fits the “Have Fun Along the Way” value!

"Color the Trees" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Color the Trees” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice day!



"Running Shoes" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/7 sec, ISO3200
“Running Shoes” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I started running again, and today I ran for the third time in a week and a half. I hadn’t run for a year or so, so my legs were so sore!

But it’s a good soreness… not painful, but the type of soreness that shows that you made a good effort.

Usually, when I start running again, I can begin increasing my distance after about 3 or 4 runs and recovery, so I anticipate getting back on track this week. But, since I am almost 50, it’s only natural that it could take longer. (I can’t believe I am getting close to 50!)

If you are on Strava, let’s connect so we can see each other’s exercise activity! My Strava is here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/2721791

I hope you had a nice day!

Our Choices

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

― J.K. Rowling