Exercise is good.

cards-001-sized.jpg

Stretching the creative muscle.

I read about the Vision Quest Photo Assignment Cards in the December 10, 2018 Shots Magazine email newsletter.

I love Shots Mag. Such a cool idea. And these assignment cards are a nice touch from publisher Doug Beasley, designed by Outside the Box Designs.

cards-002-sized.jpg

They’re described as “a deck of 36 beautifully designed and printed cards, with a unique photo assignment on the back of each one, housed in an elegant box and all printed on recycled paper.”

Photo Assignments For Personal & Spiritual Growth

The cards are about 3″ x 5″ in size, printed on a thick recycled stock with rounded corners that have a semi-gloss finish. The type used for each card is a serif font at a readable size, and each card is numbered. The front of the cards are dark grey with a series of fine white lines that swirl and overlap. A nice pattern. There’s also a red hanko, Doug’s most likely, centered near the bottom.

cards-004-sized.jpg

It came with a nifty box with four flaps that folds up to enclose the deck. It’s secured with a hook-and-loop closure. Along with the hanko, there’s a great tagline on the main flap that reads “Photo Assignments For Personal & Spiritual Growth.”

cards-003-sized.jpg

This collection of 36 assignments will be my 2019 photographic workout and I’m looking forward to getting started.

Advertisements

The leap.

magic-mouse-sized.jpg

Worth it.

I’ve been updating my Mac system a bit lately, adding a second monitor, replacing the very old keyboard, and moving up to Apple’s Magic Mouse 2.

The MM2 is awesome. I used the previous model with my work laptop back before I retired and loved it.

The Logitech wired mouse I’ve been using on my personal system the past few years was fine, but that model was discontinued and I had an Apple wired mouse that was just okay.

So, I finally bit the bullet and paid the price for the Magic Mouse 2.

A good investment.

Game changer.

panasonic-lumix-dmc-gf1.jpgGood things come in small packages.

This camera was a game changer for me. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. A super-nifty little Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with the legendary 20mm ƒ1.7 lens. So many nice images came from this little gem.

I learned of this camera through a blog post by Craig Mod titled “GF1 Fieldtest – 16 Days in the Himalayas.” His detailed review, high praise, and gorgeous photos with the GF1 were all hard to ignore.

The first time I held one and fiddled with it was December 2009 while attending a photo meet-up in Santa Clara, at the coffee shop across from Loyola Hall on El Camino Real.

One of the folks at the meet-up brought along his recently acquired GF1 and was kind enough to let me hold it and play with it a bit.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold. It made a solid two-part click-thunk combo – you knew you’d just made a picture.

I’d gone from Pentax DSLRs to small point-and-shoot cameras in years prior to the GF1. Samsung NV11, Canon S3IS, Ricoh GRD2, Leica D-LUX 4. All awesome cameras, but the GF1 was so cool. Small, 12 megapixels, used interchangeable Panasonic and Olympus lenses, quick auto-focus, a 3″ display, and an external viewfinder could be added.

By Christmas 2009 I had one of my own, along with the 20mm ƒ1.7 and the EVF.

Some of my fave portraits were made with this little guy and I shot a lot of cool cars and beautiful flowers with it, too.

Journey through the past.

nv11.jpg

Drop it.

It must have bothered me. Not enough to act immediately, but I’ve felt compelled lately to right a wrong that occurred some 10 years ago.

I really liked it. Was getting a lot of use out of it, too. I even took it to Omaha, Nebraska. Walked all over town with it while attending a conference for the university. Got amazing results with it. I absolutely loved the user-interface and menu system. Check out the specs on DPReview…

And then one day after work I was getting out of the truck and I dropped it. It wasn’t the first time that had happened. It was the third. And final.

It came with one strap lug and a hand strap. Not my favorite set-up. I’ll never be a fan of that configuration.

I absolutely loved the user-interface and menu system.

Over the years, I’d occasionally scour eBay to see if anyone was selling theirs. In early November I finally found a used Samsung NV11 in near mint condition for an extremely reasonable price. $66, including shipping.

When it arrived, I spent a couple of days reacquainting myself. Played with all the settings and took a bunch of meaningless pictures that eventually got deleted.

It was one of three cameras I used yesterday while on a photo stroll near the Texas State Capitol in Austin. PhotowalksATX. Great gang of folk.

I purposely set it to black and white and ISO 1600, and off I went…

 

 

Polka. Polka. Polka.

Event sign

The Fifth First Annual Polkapocalypse.

I’ve long been a fan of the accordion, in spite of the fact that I was forced as a young child to take lessons, as was my sister! The squeezebox we used back then still exists and is in the hands of my good friend Marty K. It’s so tiny!

Playing the accordion is somewhat of a tradition in my mostly German family, so I got to hear a lot of polka songs growing up. Not a bad thing, really.

One of the first events I discovered after moving to Central Texas was the Polkapocalyspe at the Elisabet Ney Museum near East 45th and Avenue G in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, Texas. The concert is co-sponsored by another Central Texas non-profit, Texas Folk Life.

I was first taken by the awesome graphic design used to promote the event – an illustration of a skeleton wearing a sombrero, playing an accordion – using typography entirely suitable for Halloween, or more likely, Dia de los Muertos.

The 2018 event fell on Sunday, October 28 which just happened to be one of the prettiest days we’ve had this Fall. With temperatures in the low-mid 80s, it was perfect weather for a free outdoor concert. The fest ran from noon to 5:30 p.m.

The drive down to Austin was painless and I got there early enough to easily find a parking spot just a few steps away from the corner lot where the concert was happening.

Specs | Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 + Olympus 12-40 ƒ2.8 PRO

I walked around the corner lot first, checking out the lay of the land and picking up a museum t-shirt while snapping a few pictures. I returned to the Escape to drop off the shirt, then walked over to the museum for a quick look-see.

After 20 minutes or so of wandering around inside and exploring both floors, I headed back to the concert, which was just starting.

There were a number of partnering vendors situated around the open field, but I spotted one vendor right in the middle of the action, in the shade, with a screen printing apparatus, printing t-shirts with the Polkapocalyspe branding. I stood in line for one of them. Well worth the wait. Pretty cool.

I got quite a few portraits, using the GX8 paired with the new-to-me 12-40mm ƒ2.8.

Even though I had some success, in retrospect I should have brought along my adjustable neutral density filter and a tripod. Next time…

 

Loaded up.

film-trio-sized.jpg

Ready to go.

I have three cameras loaded up with film, ready to get out and shoot.

My Olympus Stylus Epic is loaded with Kodak Ektar 100, 36 exposure, Color 35mm.

The Lomo Sprocket Rocket has a roll of Fujifilm Superia 800, 24 exposure, Color 35mm in it.

The Holga 120N is ready to go with Ilford PAN F Plus 50, Black and White, 12 exposure, 120mm.

Now all I need is for my Plantar Fasciitis to calm down for a day and hope that a little let-up in the rain that’s been falling in Central Texas happens simultaneously.

Maybe this Sunday…