Looking and listening this week

Looking and listening this week

As finals fever grips the football faithful, my thoughts are on writing off 2017 to experience and making plans for 2018. I was never one to wait for New Year’s day to make resolutions…

One thing I resolved to do is look at all the old stuff I have saved to Feedly and cull some of it. I did rediscover some things though. like Maria Svarbova and Robin de Puy

Listening to Larkin Poe

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Cleaning up


Seems to work this way…

You get motivated to make some images, then the challenges begin, starting with gear. Mine is rarely ready to go without something going awry, ranging from;

  • flat batteries;
  • cards with images that have not been backed up and can’t be used until they are;
  • lenses hiding in different bags;
  • missing cables or other adapters and;
  • a pile of light stands and reflectors randomly stacked on one another.

If I want to keep using anything other than a phone it will need to be organised, so I devised a plan that goes like this;

  • Everything I can find will be placed on a table;
  • It will be checked if it needs checking;
  • It will be cleaned if it needs cleaning;
  • If I don’t need it it will be donated;
  • If I do need it I will build some proper storage for it all to go together in one place.

It’s a good bad weather project and will pay off in the long run so wish me luck.

Cleaning and culling

Cleaning and culling

Neglecting to keep on top of the more routine housekeeping routines has consequences. There is physical and mental clutter that has piled up while I was studying, with the best of intentions to read or deal with it later when I was done. Well I’m done now and this week I started confronting the various piles of “stuff” to free me up for other things.

On the list is an image cull which was something I had previously done to recoup some space on my hard drive but now is focused on being more selective about what I want to hold on to. I also decided to challenge the notion that a photographer can never have too many camera bags, finally putting 2 of my old LowePro bags out for collection.

The main task was finding a place to put away the darkroom gear and during that task I discovered a hidden cache of tools in a drawer I had not opened for 5 years. These were favourites for small jobs so it was a fond reunion. Thinking about that I wondered if there were images lurking about that would evoke similar feelings. To reinforce that another discovery was a collection of Kodachromes slides from my trip to Japan over 30 years ago. I know I have negatives and prints going back decades and perhaps it is time to invest a film scanner so I can start working through them.

At least I am getting my cobwebs under control…

Culling time

I have not been well for the last day or so. The very last thing I wanted to see was this;

capacity

My preference is to have at least 25-30%  free space. My pictures folder occupies 10% of the total drive space on it’s own.  This is like the closet that gets stuff thrown into it to the point of being dangerous to open the door. I’m not the tidiest person but this makes me uncomfortable.

To be honest I knew I was going to run out of space at some point. You can’t just keep dropping hundreds of image files on a drive  forever. The obvious solution is to upgrade to a larger hard drive but I feel that is like lending more money to someone already drowning in debt. Besides, if I don’t upgrade the drive I can spend that money elsewhere, like putting it towards a new computer. Moving the photos to an external drive is an option but my backup regime is complex enough with out having to make backups of another drive.

Instead, I need to explore how I got here to see if there are changes I can make, not just to fix the current situation but to be more sustainable over time. To do that, I will look at the recording, processing and output stages of my workflow individually and see what the options are.

Recording

One contributor to this situation was my decision to switch to RAW format last year. To make matters worse I used RAW+jpeg mode on the premise it would save me time converting RAW files to jpeg for use in this blog or uploading to others sites. That made sense before I got Lightroom but now I can stick to RAW alone. True, the jpegs are small but it’s a cumulative thing over time.

Processing

The decision to go exclusively with RAW means I can remove all the jpegs that have matching RAW files, so there is another quick win. The other issue with processing is workflow. The switch to Lightroom has simplified things but there was a transition from iPhoto and project images are spread across both applications. As part of the clean up of those duplicate jpeg files I will bring the RAW files over to Lightroom.

The bracketed images made for HDR processing are another opportunity. I have been retaining them on the premise I can go back to them as my skills improve but I’m coming to the conclusion that I can just make more images, so I will pick the best exposure out of the set and remove the rest.  I can recover from backups if I need to.

There are also plugins and apps that I have downloaded and not really used all that much, so removing these will recover some more space

The last change is the hardest one and that is to be more ruthless in editing and weeding out images. I don’t necessarily suck at this but I know there is room for improvement. Currently, I remove images with any obvious technical defects in camera. The rear screen is too small to pick up everything so there is a second round of deletions when I import, again, this is the obvious errors.

Where I need to focus is the final cut. The best way I have found to do this is to park the images and come back to them after a few months so I have largely forgotten what I saw that made me press the shutter button. That helps with objectivity and allows me to be more critical.

Output

With all the changes above successfully applied I will only be recovering space temporarily. I need to think more about the purpose of this growing collection of images and perhaps in turn why I do this. That is a whole other conversation.

What I may look at is producing some photo books from collections of images that were of personal significance. At that point I probably don’t need the digital file anymore. Another option is uploading more to the web so that what I saw and recorded is shared with other people.

Close

There are also all the other files I download in my day to day use that contribute to this situation and may benefit from similar scrutiny. Things like eBooks and podcasts on photography, music and video. It looks like my long weekend will become a 3 day purge of all this digital clutter. Since I don’t feel like getting outside, that is probably not a bad thing.