I’m making a newsletter!

As a fun project for 2017 I am going to making a newsletter about the things that I like and the projects i work on. It will be similar to the content of this blog, but a little more humorous. Each issue will also be more of a hodgepodge of each subject rather than sticking to a specific subject like I do with posts here.

I am calling it Traversing the Mindscape Landscape! If you want to sign up you can do so here: http://tinyletter.com/daveskull81

A couple of years ago I tried my hand at making my own podcast under the same name, but I didn’t stick to it as, honestly, it was poorly planned. I want this newsletter to be in the same vein of bizarrely funny content, but also talking about the things I find online that interesting and / or cool. This will give me a chance to exercise some silly thoughts that I haven’t done in awhile. Doing it in a written form also should help to make it more manageable which should lead to a more successful run.

With my podcast I really just didn’t plan it out well. I was trying to do one episode a week, but didn’t give myself enough lead time to create an episode. I was trying to make an episode for the coming Friday on the Wednesday prior. It ended up being too much work to keep up and I stopped making episodes after only a few. This time around I am going to plan it better. I will be spending the next month or so planning out issues and promoting the newsletter. I will be launching it sometime in February. This should give me enough time to get good ideas together for future issues.

I will only be putting out one per week at most, so it shouldn’t be too spammy and I should be able to keep it up with the right planning. I really hope that you subscribe and check out the first few issues. So, if you are into writing code, making coffee, taking photos, or poems about bears made of cheese all while wanting links to cool internet stuff subscribe here.

Huzzah!

Instant self-portrait because I’m artsy

picture I took of myself in a mirror
That’s me in the mirror

I took this picture in 2012 or 2013. It was with my Polaroid Impulse camera and I snapped it looking into the bathroom mirror of the studio Cassidy and I first got when we moved to Seattle. I was home alone on a day off from work and had a few shots of film that I took by pointing my camera at odd angles and clicking the shutter.

The old Gas Plant turned into a park trick…

old gas plant factory at a public park
Gas Works park in Seattle

I have talked about Gas Works park being one of my favorite spots to take pictures in Seattle many times here because it is true and I like doing it. I took this shot with Impossible’s black and white instant film. I believe it was with their generation 2.0 of the film, which works really well and gives some great results. I really enjoy shooting with it in my vintage One-Step. This particular shot has an awesome ethereal feel with the soft focus on the plant. I have grown to really like the inconsistent focus of the camera and the results I get from shots. It adds to the randomness that is instant photography.

Expired black and white instant film and Thanksgiving

dinner table set for thanksgiving


This year Cassidy and I joined our friends Adam and Ashley at Adam’s parents house for Thanksgiving. It was a fun time and a good change from our most common Thanksgiving event of watching all three extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It takes roughly twelve hours and is totally worth it if you’ve never done it. I brought along my Polaroid One Step and my last pack of Impossible film. It was a box of their first generation of black and white film that expired in February of 2015. I thought it would be a perfect time to snap a few shots and see what happens. Also, to be honest, having a camera to get behind helps out a lot when I’m amongst a group of people. It is a conversation starter and and allows me to relax more.
I took this picture of the dinner table after it was set before everyone sat down. This and the other images I got came out better than I expected for the film being expired. I have had it stored in our fridge the whole time I’ve had it, so it kept pretty well.
I scanned this shot with the Impossible Project’s iOS app rather than my scanner. I really like the results. I also tried out Google’s new photo scanning app and the Impossible app got more details of the photo. The scans I got from Google’s app lost details in the foreground of the image and it was hard to see the forks and knives on the table. With Impossible’s app I was able to get more of the detail that was captured by the original photo. I think I am going to start using their app all the time to scan my instant photos for sharing them here.

Screencapping a panorama

While we were in New York City I tried to play around with taking pictures on my phone as much as I could. I took a few panorama shots. One in particular was on a subway platform while we waited on a train. I was looking at it the other day, zooming in to get a closer look at it. As I got to the end I liked how the long distance down the remaining platform looked. It had this feel that something wasn’t right, but one couldn’t tell what. I took a screen capture, edited it in VscoCam, and this is the result. I really like how the repeating 33 looks in black and white.

New York City – Subway saxophone player

Processed with VSCO with p4 preset

On our recent trip to New York City we used the subway to get everywhere. It was awesome to see the various performers in the subway playing music. It is something that I’ve seen in movies and on television so much that it doesn’t feel like it happens in the real world. But, it does and it is super cool. I really admire anyone who has the guts to post up somewhere and perform for anyone and everyone. It is rad to see people putting themselves out for the world to see.

I took this shot on my iPhone 7 of this saxophone player while we waited on a train. I edited it on my phone in VscoCam.

Lake Union in Black & White

gas_works_view_of_lake_union

I took this shot with my Polaroid One Step on black and white Impossible film. It was shot from Gas Works park looking out on Lake Union.

Green and black film under a bridge and how I feel about the world right now

under_bridge_at_troll

I took this while standing under 99 facing down the hill away from the Fremont Troll with my Polaroid One Step on Impossible Green & Black film. It was a weird and fun film to shoot with as I didn’t really have an idea of how it would come out. I tried to over expose as it seemed like the green would darken everything and shooting under a bridge doesn’t have much light anyways.

Being uncertain of how things will come out seems to the general theme in my thoughts lately. I didn’t vote for Trump because I didn’t want him to be President. I think his hateful rhetoric will divide this country even further. Already there have been many reports of people getting harassed and attacked as targets of hate and he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet.

I’m not sure yet of exactly how I want to help, but I know I want to help. I’m a straight white male. If I wanted to I could ride this out and come out relatively unharmed except for paying more taxes, probably. But, equality or the lack thereof has always struck a chord with me. It boggles my mind that anybody who lives in America would think that someone else is less than human based on something that makes them different. Our differences is what makes us stronger and betters everyone’s life. Moving to Seattle and seeing the world differently has opened my eyes to a lot of things I knew little about and I am better for it.

Not being willing to hear each other out is what has gotten us into this divided state. I will admit that I have shut down the idea of hearing out those who disagree with me politically because I couldn’t understand their point of view. The thing to do now is to listen to each other, to find those that disagree with us and hear them out, to debate with them our own view, and to find somewhere we can meet in the middle.

Unless your view is full of hate, racism, and misogyny. I can’t meet you in the middle there. That just has to go. I don’t have to respect that opinion because it has no basis in reality.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post. I just felt like saying something because saying nothing is part of the problem.

I’m going to start saying something. I haven’t been one to post much about politics, but I’m going to start being part of the discussion now. Call me a social justice warrior or whatever all you want. But, I want to be part of the process and have my voice heard.

Right now I’m going to start with donating to organizations doing work I think is important like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the EFFFight for the Future, and others. I know I can contact my Senators and Representative to let them know how I want them to vote and represent me as a citizen and I will do that.

I also want people to know that they can be safe with me. If you are feeling victimized because of your race, gender, religious beliefs, or anything else you can come to me for help. I will believe you and I will do what I can to help.

Playing around with Hipstamatic and drinking coffee

Yesterday morning I made some coffee in my Chemex and sat down on the couch to enjoy it. Cassidy was out with some friends for the morning so I sat quietly and enjoyed the coffee as I looked outside. I ended up playing around with Hipstamatic and snapped these shots of the coffee table in front of me. I’ve used Hipstamatic since I got my iPhone 3G. It is pretty fun to have used an app for so long and to have seen how it has progressed over the years. I’m starting to really like the newest incarnation and taking photos in various formats like 16:9 and other non-square shapes.

It was a nice distraction from thinking about the historically absurd day we are sure to have tomorrow in the United States. Good luck everyone.

New York City Subway

Taken with my iPhone 7 while waiting for a subway train in New York City. Edited in VscoCam. 

View from the Empire State Building at night

We went to the Empire State Building while we were in New York City. It was early in the trip and we were relaxing for the evening and were debating if we should go out or not.

Before the trip we decided that we wanted to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, but couldn’t decide whether to do it during the day or at night. We got a few recommendations from friends to do it at night.

We decided to make the most of our trip and headed out. It was totally worth it. The view from up there is awesome and at night it is breathtaking. I took this with my iPhone 7 and edited it in VscoCam.

Rainy day at the Statue of Liberty

On our trip to New York City last month we went to the Statue of Liberty on my birthday. Have I mentioned that? I was pretty excited. Even though it rained while we were there it was still awesome. I took this shot with my iPhone 7. Thanks to it being water resistant I was able to take pictures with it. I edited this in VscoCam on my iPhone as well.

View of South Lake Union from Gas Works Park

seattle_south_lake_union_space_needle

Last weekend Cassidy went to meet a friend to hang out. I hadn’t planned on going out for photos, but Cassidy messaged me to let me know that it was really nice out and would be a good photographic opportunity. I’m sure she just wanted to make sure I leave the house since I am very good at turning into a hermit and staring at my computer when she isn’t around.

I looked outside and agreed that it would be a great time to go Gas Works park and snap some shots. I walked down there and took 111 photos in about an hour or so. This is one that I got from the water’s edge looking out at South Lake Union.

Accepting auto-focus in my photography

robot_salt_and_pepper_shakers_coffee_table

I am not a professional photographer. I am an enthusiastic hobbyist when it comes to photography. I try my best to learn how a camera works and how to adjust manual settings to get the kind of photos I am looking to take. I do this because I find the photographic process very interesting and like deducing what I can do with my camera.

But, I also wear glasses because I don’t have great eyesight. I’m not totally blind without my glasses, but I definitely need them to function in the outside world. At home I can get away without glasses because I know our apartment well enough to feel comfortable without glasses although I don’t do it for long. I would never entertain the thought of leaving our apartment without my glasses on. That would be insanity!

With this I have a hard time getting photos focused how I want them. Since I can’t take my glasses off I have to wear them as I look through the viewfinder. I’m not able to get the viewfinder to sit cleanly against my glasses and I see how the lens of my glasses is at an angle to the viewfinder.  From my experience this seems to cause a distortion that tricks me into thinking things are in focus that actually aren’t and I find that this gets me inaccurate results. I tend to see the image in focus as I like and snap the shot. On the smaller rear display of my DSLR the image looks good for the few seconds it previews. Afterwards I will transfer the images to my computer and see something very different. Once I have the picture up larger on my computer I see that what is directly behind the point I was focusing on is actually in focus and my intended focal point is just slightly out of focus. Mostly, it is close enough that nobody will say anything, likely because it is my friends or family seeing my pictures and they just are being nice to not ask me if it is meant to be out of focus. It is even more frustrating when working with my film cameras. Shooting film is an expensive process and to have shots not come out right on a roll is really disheartening. It’s a big bummer and makes me feel like a failure. That is part of why I shoot mostly digital photos. There is a safety in being able to snap multiple shots of something and being to delete it if it doesn’t turn out as I want.

Because of my focus woes awhile ago I turned on the auto-focus on my lens. I still shoot entirely manual settings otherwise, but I let the camera do the work for me in regards to focusing. I have played around with the auto-focus settings and am starting to get the hang of its behavior. By adjusting zoom level and shifting my camera angle I have been able to get it to focus on different parts of the image. But, in the end the camera does it for me and I am honestly happier for it. I am getting much better results, the kind that I am actually looking for and I am much happier for it as a hobbyist. I have come to accept and enjoy using auto-focus. Part of me felt like it was cheating, that as a photographer I should be making adjustments to every aspect of my photos 100% manually, otherwise it is not really my photo. Thinking about this more I see it is silly and bullshit to put that level of expectation on myself for something that is meant to be a fun pastime. Photography is something I love doing and I find it very fun, but I’m not trying to be a professional. I just want to take pictures and experiment. That’s the fun and the fun is what matters.

The photo above was taken using auto-focus and I think it looks pretty cool. What do you think? Do you use auto-focus when you shoot? Are you a photographer that wears glasses and have awesome tricks for me to try so that I can focus as I want?

 

Sunset in JarrBar


Cassidy and I celebrated our anniversary by visiting restaurants and bars that we’ve never been to in Seattle. It was really fun to explore new places in our home city. One place we went to is called JarrBar. It is a small place near Pike Place Market and it was a lot of fun. The drinks and snacks were tasty and the people working there were really nice. It felt like a place that welcomes people to come in and hang out.

Cassidy visited the restroom and I took this moment to snap some pictures with my phone. As the place faces West we got some awesome light in there as the sun was setting. I didn’t feel like editing this much, as it looked great to start, but I used a VSCO film in VscoCam on my phone and did a couple other tweaks.

I really like how the lighting turned out. So far I am really happy with pictures I’ve taken with my iPhone 7.