Hiatus…

Just a note to say hello and sorry that this has been neglected for a while now.

I will return, other things in life are taking priority over photography.

Thank you for visiting.

Getting G.A.S. and Gear Change

Since my son turned one I honestly have not picked up my camera as much as I should have been to keep up with my photography learning. Many things have seemed to get in the way but during this time I began to notice that I’ve started falling into the G.A.S. trap that many photographers happen to do.

What is G.A.S?

Well besides being something eating beans may give you, in photography circles it is known as “Gear Acquisition Syndrome”. It can be triggered by many things but usually comes from seeing other photographer’s work and knowing they use “better” or “more expensive” gear than you and it triggers the urge to go out and get the same gear thinking that it will improve your photography. Or for some it’s the feeling that they can’t do something with out some piece of “better” gear than they currently have. There are other definitions of G.A.S. and if you think you will never fall into the trap think again. Most all photographers fall into it, I know I did! I suggest reading the article on Olivier Duong’s Blog for how he describes G.A.S. and how he overcame it.

I think my only saving grace is that I have not spent as much on gear as others I know or read about in various forums and blogs. Most everything I have coveted for photography was still listed in one of the many wish lists I created out on various photography shopping sites.

Wish lists like what I have listed here (and these are just from Amazon!):

Photo – Gear 31 items
Photo – Books/Software 57 items
Photo – F/4+ Lenses 3 items
Photo – FF Camera 9 items
Photo – Film 6 items
Photo – Fujifilm Gear 15 items
Photo – L Primes 7 items
Photo – Non L Lenses 6 items
Photo – Tamron Lenses 3 items
Photo – Sigma Lenses 7 items
Photo – Studio Gear 28 items
Photo – TS Lenses 4 Items

That is A LOT of gear! If I were to buy all that at once I’d need a medium-sized loan…. also my wife would kill me!

One night after listening to an old interview with Zack Arias it hit me that I’ve been sitting around and learning by only reading and watching everyone else do photography while at the same time I was feeding my GAS by convincing myself that I need X gear to be as good as others I was admiring. It became time that I really focus on what I need versus what I want to have and get over this gear want.

First thing I did was rid my online accounts of all photo gear and only kept one for photo books I can use for learning and inspiration.

Next was making the decision to focus my photography on finishing my NYIP School work, doing personal photo projects, shooting events and get working on head shots/portraits part-time. Keeping what this in mind I looked at the gear I had as well as the reality of being a new father where camera gear is often not the only thing I’m carrying day-to-day and came to the decision that it is time to change my set up and shed things and switch to Fuji system from Canon.

You maybe thinking though, “Jason, why get new gear? Why not use what you have now? Are you not just feeding your GAS but spending more money?”

There are a few answers but I want to focus on the two main reasons for me.

First is that I got tired of carrying a big DSLR around to family and non-family events. While my 60D is not the largest camera in the world it’s still weighs a lot when you start carrying it all day everyday. Also I am currently recovering from back surgery #3 and have another baby coming in the month that rhymes with soon this year. I wanted to move to something smaller that gave me the same or better image quality and allowed me to carry it around without needing a large camera bag.

Second was the cost of good fast lenses. For what you spend on one of Canon’s L Glass lenses I can get several amazing lenses from Fuji for my shooting style without loss of quality. Bonus is as a parent this means more money for the kiddo’s college fund and family savings which makes my wife happy.

About a month ago I traded in my Canon gear and now have in my kit the following Fuji gear:

  • X100T for day-to-day shooting and personal projects
  • X-T1 body with 10-24mm, 35mm, 56mm, and 50-140mm lenses for everything the X100T doesn’t cover.

Since then I’ve been working with my Fuji kit and I am very happy with this change. The X100T has gotten back out to shoot more because it’s easy to grab it and go on a daily basis. When I need something more I grab the XT-1 and lenses and even that is a lot lighter that my Canon kit was. So my back is thanking me as well. This in turn has refocused me to work on my NYIP schoolwork and get going on finishing it.

Additionally my G.A.S. is pretty much gone now and I feel motivated to get better at shooting with what I have. Of course I still get excited at some nice pieces of gear here and there but I no longer feel like I will need it now to be a better photographer. I know I can now wait and max out the capabilities of my current gear before moving up to the next level instead rushing to it and waiting money and getting frustrated.

It honestly has been a great feeling to be motivated again to shoot, work on projects and get back into completing my NYIP Course.

Thanks for reading.

Jason

Getting back in the groove.

Life has a funny way of getting in your way at times but so does laziness.

There have been some great moments (birth of son and house purchase) and there been some craptastic ones as well (back problems with surgery and house search) in the past two years that have kept the camera out of my hands.

I’ve spent way too much time reading about photography and doing non productive things (damn you online gaming!) than actually shooting anything.

Honestly looking back too many excuses were made and I got lazy about it. I was laid up since the beginning of this year due to a bad back and having surgery in February to correct it. Instead of taking that time to catch up on my NYIP course work I waisted it on video games and watching way too much Doctor Who reruns.

Thankfully with the support of my wife I’ve started to get back on track and out shooting again.

Jason

Ozaukee County Fair

Got out with my wife and son to have a nice quiet walk through the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds this morning before any crowds came in. It was great as we could take our time and I could take pictures without getting in people’s way as they tried to look at animals.

Here is a link to the set on Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZHMnGc

 

Thanks for reading!

Jason

Getting organized and keeping up with information overload.

With all good intentions a few years ago I set up a pocket account and used it as part of an “Article review” workflow. So that I could keep a somewhat better handle on all the articles I would like to read but didn’t have the time to when I came across them on the internet.

The workflow had four parts to it:
Feedly: A repository for all the sites and blogs I follow located in one place. I have a Feedly Pro account for the extra integration (I was one of the 5.000 that got it at the limited one time payment of $99 for a lifetime pro level account).
Pocket: For saving an article for reading later.
IFTTT (If This Then That): To take any item in Pocket I marked as a favorite and put it into my Evernote Inbox with the set of tags from pocket plus a “ToReview” tag that I used as reminder that the article needed to be sorted out of the Inbox and into the correct Evernote notebook.
EverNote: My digital file cabinet.

What I did was any article I wanted to read but couldn’t at that moment I would use the “Save to Pocket” chrome extension or button if in Feedly to save the article for later. Next after reading the article if I wanted to save it I would mark it as a favorite in Pocket and let IFTTT copy it to Evernote. I would also then Archive the article in Pocket so I can delete it safely at a later date.

With that workflow in place during the last year after my son was born I did not have much free time to devote to anything outside of work and family. However I still tried to keep up at least on reading articles on the web related to photography. So I did the usual; find and article, save it to pocket and review it later… however that review it later part didn’t happen very often and some months it never happened.

Now you can imagine that after a year I had amassed hundreds of articles (this didn’t even include all feeds in Feedly I have not really kept up with either). I took a count of them all just in Pocket and I had about 600 articles saved to review. I think Feedly stopped counting articles at 1000 when I looked at what was stacked up there as well.

I sat down and looked at all the stuff I was trying to keep up with not just for photography, but just in my day-to-day activities with work and family. In all honestly, I felt very overwhelmed as that is a lot to review and I wasn’t sure it would even be worth it to review them or just delete it all and start over so I would have the stress of having to remember to still review, read and organize all this information.

I decided that if anything this would be a good exercise in forcing my self to get back to organizing and getting a better handle at the hectic life I’ve had in the last years. Something I’ve been trying to do for the last five years and not being very successful with.

So I set some goals and rules for myself (still in progress) to keep better organized and try to prevent the overload happening again.

  1. Clean out all current articles saved in pocket. (Done. See below)
  2. Clean out my Feedly to get rid of some of the feeds I rarely read and tend to just do a “mark all read” on.
  3. Re-organized Evernote so that it is not big “dump” of random stuff and get rid of things I do not need to keep there.
  4. Evernote is for personal (non-work) items.
  5. OneNote is for work related Organization (While I use Mac at home I work on windows laptop with heave SharePoint usage).
  6. Limit the saving of articles to ones that are actually useful based on these sub-rules:
    1. Can be used for work/home/photography projects
    2. Can be used for blog posts
    3. How-To Articles
    4. Related to getting my photography business set up /running it in the future.
  7. Set at least 30 minutes per day to read items saved in Pocket.

So with what little free time I’ve had over the last two weeks and the above rules I focused on Pocket and skimmed through and marked which ones as favorite that would still be interesting to read so they would at least be in Evernote. Also I got rid of a lot of duplicated saved articles. I had one article saved six times! I made sure to put that one in Evernote as it must have been important to read if i saved it off that many times!

The final count now in my Evernote inbox is now 476 (there was about 200 already notes in there already before I started “cleaning”).

Next is to clean out Feedly then go back to Evernote and sorting everything out.

I hope I can keep this up and make sure I’m not saving everything I come across again and not reading it for another year.

So what does this have to do with learning photography? Well honestly, not much but except that 90% of the articles I had saved to pocket were all about photography. I was hoarding all the information I found and thought was useful. One thing I had to learn the hard way, even after hearing it a few times, was the more time you spend being online the less you are shooting (or doing something else important like being with your family). I’m not saying don’t read up on new things. What I’m saying is don’t let you desire to take in information overload you. Don’t horde everything you come across thinking you will have time to read later. It seldom works out.

Try to focus on the important things that you can use right now or in the near future and get rid of the extra. Doing it here with all the information on the internet available for you will also help you focus out in the “real world” at you job, with you family, and with yourself.

Thanks for reading.

Jason