Getting Crafty

The weather’s been a lot better since my last post. Well, mostly better. It was unbearably hot for a couple of days (with the thermometer on my porch hitting 100 degrees at one point), but I’d rather suffer a day or two of sweltering heat than another month of gray skies and rain.

Still haven’t done much of anything, though. I’ve been too caught up in either personal business (which I’ll write about sooner or later) or some projects which I’ve been meaning to get to.

Projects like learning how to make costumes and props out of craft foam.

See, my daughter has a habit of coming up with elaborate costume ideas for Halloween, and we both have interests which tend toward the geeky–interests which could be more effectively served if we knew how to make our own garb and implements to go with them.

So, I finally broke down and bought what amounts to a foam crafting starter kit. Cutting mat, utility knife, contact cement–the whole haul shown in the photo at right. And oh, ho, ho! I’m so not done shopping yet.

Anyway, if you’re wondering where I’ve been and what I’ll be doing until whenever I next update this thing, now you know the answer.

Slack and Woe

Well, my streak was bound to end sooner or later. Haven’t published a blog post since Thursday, only barely touched the socials, and I’ve done almost no work for, like, a week.

Mostly, I blame the weather.

Here in my corner of the world, we’re basically getting week-long streaks of mid-fifties temperatures, gray skies, and rain, broken up by maybe a day here and there of “partly sunny” sixties.

This isn’t exactly what you’d call “ideal” for a person whose mental state has somehow become incredibly dependent on the weather in recent years, and who’s just set walking and photography as the twin pillars of all his stress relief.

So, my last couple of weeks can basically be summed up by the following conditional…

If the weather forecast looks like crap, I will watch Netflix and maybe get half an hour or an hour of work done on something. Otherwise, I will grab my camera, go outside, and walk until my feet and legs beg me to stop.

What I really need at this point is a good four or five day stretch of solidly good weather so that a) I’m no long bogged down by whatever this environmental depression-esque mood thing is, and b) that I don’t feel like Mr. Sun is so rare I have to throw everything else aside to embrace it like it’s the last time we’ll ever see each other.

Not sure when that’s happening, though, so here, have a Buddha.


The Big, Free Light in the Sky

I mentioned I’ve been walking a lot, and taking my camera with me, but I can’t recall writing about why it is that I’ve taken fully 90 percent of my photographs outside.

In a word: light.

Since photography is nothing more or less than capturing light, pretty much everything you do with a camera is down to the number and qualities of the photons around you. And if you’re both a beginning photographer and poor, you’ll quickly discover that the cheapest and more readily-available source of good lighting is the Day Star hovering in the sky.

I live my life by the weather, now.

My phone says it’s going to be bleak and rainy? That’s a writing and desk day. Butt in the chair, crank out or clean up words on the screen, and keep the coffee brewing.

When the forecast says partly cloudy and 70 degrees, though? That’s when I steal an hour or two and head into the great, big studio we call “outdoors.”

Because, unfortunately, that’s really the only way I can manage to shoot anything and not have it look like desaturated ass.

The light in my home is truly abysmal, with windows in all the wrong places, and far too few lamps to do anything about it. About my best hope to get a good photo indoors is to wait until after dark, set up in my kitchen, and do long exposure light painting with a flashlight.

That’s…less than ideal.

Don’t get me wrong, I like going outside to shoot. It’d just be nice if it was more an option as opposed to a requirement.

There’s hope, yet, though. It looks like next month I’ll be able to start building up a decent lighting kit that I can set up and break down with relative ease. I’ll be starting with a one-light setup, but I’m picking my lights and accessories (like stands and batteries) with the plan to expanding it to a three-point system and beyond.

With any luck–and a lot of saving my pennies–I’ll have a passable studio set up by the time winter hits and my desire to go outside hits its annual low.