Carved In Stone

Carved In Stone

Things aren’t always carved in stone and people aren’t often carved in our hearts.
It’s a slow and sometimes painful process. At the same time it’s the one you shouldn’t avoid.

Just like the grooves around this heart, those experiences form us as people and allow for the right ones to fit in and stay.

Be open to people, choose your friends carefully and be mindful of grooves you leave in others.

New Hope

New Hope

It’s not every day you go to sleep thinking: “What a thrilling and exciting day is going to be tomorrow”. (Oh, you do? Waiter, I’ll have what (s)he’s having!)

It’s ok, that’s just how life works. It would be nice, though, to have such thoughts once in a while, don’t you agree? ๐Ÿ™‚

I would like you to have such thoughts tonight!
Internet is a global village now and you could be viewing this at any time of the day or night. In order to achieve what we both want for you, come back to this post this evening before you go to sleep, read this text and take a long hard look at the image I took for you.

Try seeing the kid and his grandpa, the rowers training hard, and the Sun announcing that another day went by.

Try feeling the mood I felt there and that sense of hope that fills the frame, because Sun will rise again, and life is what you make it.

Forget your problems for a minute. Sleep it over. Tomorrow’s a new day!

Damsel In Distress

Damsel In Distress

“Let’s chase the sunset again.”, he said.
“Sure, there’s a pretty, old, castle an hour away”, she replied like castles aren’t usually old, “but I’m not sure we’ll make it in time.”
“I’m sure it will be fine if we just hurry a bit.”

The truth is… Everybody wants to be saved by somebody.

In the olden days, we had maidens and damsels, Cinderellas and evil sisters, wanting to be saved by prince Charming. Princes and other male folk wanting to be saved by a damsel dear to their heart.

I’m obviously not talking only about physical saving (hence princes). I’m not talking only about fairy tales either.

In modern days we don’t have the same idea of damsels and guys riding horses. But the principle still applies.

How many of you desperately waited for a phone call from that special someone or waited on a chat or social network of your choice for that special someone to get online and eventually contact you and relieve you from your misery, thus saving you?
I know this might not be the best example I could come up with but it’s the one most of us can relate to.

This extends to other aspects of life too and I’m going to let this sink in with you and let your creativity figure this out ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m leaving you with this question: Who doesn’t want to be saved? You?

Bad Weather

Bad Weather

…can turn into a good day.

It’s only natural that outside things influence our inner state. Don’t let that ruin your mood. Happiness comes from inside anyway.

Like everything, it takes practice, Rome wasn’t built over night.

Start by seeing something positive in everything (see what I did here?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lean On Each Other

Lean On Each Other

We are all different individuals, with our own thoughts, bodies, deficiencies and talents, despite the fact that we resemble each other.

We have limited time, resources and connections.

Even if you knew how to do everything, you would probably lack the time to do it.

That’s why we’re each others’ support!

Allow yourself to receive assistance, or better yet, be the first to assist others!
Don’t expect anything in return, it probably won’t come from that direction ๐Ÿ˜‰

If tree and a house can do it, you can too!

Pool Of Wishes

Pool Of Wishes

All your wishes might be collected in a common place to be randomly chosen to be granted. Let’s call this place a Pool Of Wishes (it sounds kinda cool, doesn’t it?)

Every now and then someone capable comes by your Pool and randomly picks one of your wishes and grants it.

Some wishes are harder to make real, and require more work that someone might not be up to. Thus leaves the wish ungranted…

If your Pool is empty, it’s just a sad place to look for them when they pass along.

That means you should have wishes! And you are better of with a handful of small ones, easier to achieve than the big one.
It goes unsaid that those small ones create a mosaic of big picture, big wish, a Dream.

Same goes with your plans!

Break them into smaller pieces easier to achieve.
Then break those again into even smaller ones.
Start one by one and cross out those steps and small pieces.

You’ll see your Dream coming true!

What is in your Pool Of Wishes? What else would you put in it?

Love You ‘Till The End Of Days

Love You 'Till The End Of Days

Love, pure and simple, is all that most strive for. It’s the ultimate goal we all hope to experience one day.

There are other objectives we have in life of course, but when it comes down to what is really important, everything else can be replaced one way or another.

I don’t mean to be overly sleek, romantic, naive or whatever you want to call it, but reach into yourself when no-one’s looking and I believe you’ll find it to be true. You can still hold your ground and not admit it out loud if it makes you tougher ๐Ÿ˜‰

Whatever you choose to do, I leave you here with this thought and this image and hope you have a great day or night! ๐Ÿ˜€

Blue Thunder Night

Blue Thunder Night

Have you ever tried catching a lightning?
When was the last time you did something you wanted but were afraid to?

Don’t you think it’s important for your personal grow to overcome your (irrational) fears and go and do those things for once?

I always wanted to shoot lightnings, but never left the house in the middle of the storm to do it. This shoot wasn’t supposed to be stormy, either. I was looking for a sunny colorful sunset. Instead, heavy clouds started gathering around, the air got filled with ozone scent and people ran for cover.
This is it, I thought to my self, I’m not running no more, I’m a get myself some lightning shots!

The question here isn’t Why are you afraid?, as you may have initially thought, it’s How are you going to do it?

This is Part 2 of Recharging.

Ideas list

Updated daily(ish) with new ideas at the top.

If you have any ideas you’d like see added to this list, share them in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “Force field” for child/pet fence
  • A way to verify your trading rules are on point
  • Underwear with no labels on the inside for extra bit of comfort
  • Widget (KDE plasmoid) that tells you if there are (active) webcams on your system
  • App that rewrites your sentences to mean the same thing but rhyme
  • Live view of Earth from Moon (“I can see my house from here!”)
  • Baby language translator
  • Finishing university courses, but instead of getting into it and paying for it, find the course curriculum and document your efforts on social media
  • Smart toothbrush that scans your teeth for early signs of problems as you use it
  • A way of silently using speech to text interface and applications
  • Towel material lined pockets for when you don’t have a towel handy to dry your hands
  • App that scrolls as you read at perfect pace, regardless of whether you speed up or slow down
  • App that enables you to carbon offset, or donate to a cause, spare change when you’re paying, by rounding up the amount
  • An option to add “carbon offset” (like tips) for product or service, to your bill
  • Disaster early warning app that warns you about tornadoes, earthquakes and alike in time to get away or find shelter
  • News portal that consists only of articles that AI predicts are going to come out tomorrow/in a year
  • Extreme kitchen watching: Pretend chestnuts are popcorn
  • ASCII window/desktop system/UI
  • Pick 10 cliche lines and make a movie around them
  • a matchmaking company uses their data on clients to create a match making party without the guests knowing to create some serendipitous moments

What’s In My Photography Bag

What's In My Photography Bag

This post answers the question “What camera do you use?“, plus much more. It’s an update to the old post with the same title since quite a lot changed since I wrote it (even since I updated it).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means you’ll find links throughout this article that ease you finding products I’m talking about. If you buy things through these links, I might make a small percentage of that without costing you anything extra. I hope this is fine with you, these are here to help you ease your search.

Camera

Since I gave my Nikon D5100 away, and pretty much all of the photos in my portfolio I’ve made with it, I mainly shoot with my phone. Old post has more details about that camera and lenses I used.

I also used OnePlus 5 for a while, and I still do from time to time. I know it very well and can work around its shortcomings.

My main camera now is that of OnePlus 8 Pro. In most specs far superior than my old Nikon. I like the addition of a wide angle camera, as I quite enjoyed the 18 mm side of my lens on the old camera. I like that the portrait mode now works with any lens length, although not perfectly. Macro mode is awesome, and it works with any camera. That’s something I wasn’t able to do without a dedicated lens before.

Software could give more control. Not being able to completely turn off HDR is rubbing me the wrong way. Camera does a great job at doing multiple exposures and merging them but sometimes I want to blow out a background for that light feeling. Just. Let. Me. Break. The. Rules. Like. An. Artist.

Often white balance leans on a bit too warm and green side so I have to correct it manually in Snapseed.

This is not really a review so I won’t go into more detail as everything else is mostly positive and I’m pretty happy with it. Happy enough that I’m not planning on buying a dedicated camera for the time being.

There are downsides of not using a dedicated camera and I’m coping with those. See “Lights” bellow ๐Ÿ˜€

Accessories

I’ve put everything that isn’t camera or lens in this section.

Lights

Nikon SB700 is a great addition to the arsenal for food photography and people photography… when you have a camera that can trigger it.
I haven’t yet figured a way to trigger a remote speedlight with a phone camera, so my go to is…

Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable 5600K USB LED Video Light with Adjustable Tripod Stand/Color Filters. They:

  • are very affordable
  • come with tripods that have ball heads so you can adjust position and angle
  • really white, which is really important for white balancing your photos and getting predictable results
  • come with diffusers and gels that help getting softer light and get different color light if you need to match your environment lighting
  • powered with a 5V 2A USB port so you can power them with a phone charger or a power bank on the go
  • are not flash lights, they are continually on, so they won’t cause blinking when photographing people and you can use them for videography (win-win)
  • have adjustable, in 10% increments, light levels so you can fill the shadows of the environment lighting, and other things you may want to do (for example, if you light your subject too bright, when adjusted for exposure, your background will be too dark)
  • feel cheep when handling, because they are, especially for everything you’re getting
  • get the job done

Gadgets

Hmm, do I really not have any gadgets?

Tripod

I gave away my main tripod too, so… well, I cope. The stands that came with the lights have standard camera mounts at the top which can take a phone mount too. They are not that sturdy for landscape photography but they serve a purpose.

What I use very often lately, and is really my go to for stands, is UBeesize tripod pro. I don’t remember where/how I got it because I don’t have those handy remote triggers or any extra joints you’ll get from the link I posted. What’s cool is that you can put it in weird places by wrapping those legs around things.

I also have a small Manfrotto tripod I got as a present and use it for those cool, low angle shots, and a lot of other times for placing it on furniture, walls and similar when shooting video or food photos. I don’t use it that much any more since UBeesize is a lot more versatile and I, sadly, don’t need the heavy lifting that Manfrotto can deliver, any more.

Laptop

HP ProBook 4540s with Intel i7 CPU and 8 GiB of RAM and 750 GB HDD.
Sadly, I haven’t upgraded to a newer laptop in a long while. Happily, I was able to hack around it and upgrade it. Mostly because I can’t find a perfect laptop…
Upgraded with an SSD for the operating system and main data, the HDD is now only for storage, which extends its lifetime considerably. I use it not only for editing but also for software development, web development and mobile apps development. It’s my main tool for work when I’m not shooting. Running Linux Manjaro and it’s super snappy.

With my phone now having faster hardware and more RAM than my laptop, I do most of my photo editing in Snapseed, and I’m looking into more advanced ways of utilizing it for heavy lifting I know it can do.

There’s also a RaspberryPi media center with a 1 TB hard drive that’s shared on the network for backups and easy access.

Bag

I was lucky enough to get Vanguard Up-Rise 43 sling bag as a gift. Sling is good because the camera is easily accessible and it takes only a few seconds to get it out and shoot if you pre-set the camera settings. It’s got a lot of handy pockets and compartments, including a rain cover, who’s usefulness caught me by surprise when I needed it most.

Even though I rarely use it any more, since I gave most of my equipment away, it’s a great bag that doesn’t need any upgrades.

Conclusion

Now you know.

My bag, literal and metaphorical, is still not full. Things can be taken out and better things put in. If you are starting out, did this encourage you to get out and start shooting even with your smartphone?

What’s in your bag? What’s the basic you cannot go without?

White And Fluffy

Because these times are rare and far between, we appreciate them. If every day looked like this, we would take it for granted. Just like we do yellow Sun, and Kriptonians are fascinated when they stop by.

Why can’t we have nice things?

Because we experience our today only compared to our yesterday. If we’re flying high for a while, it’s no longer high. It’s regular.

Does that mean we need the lows to appreciate the highs? Yes and no. We need the experience of change, an anchor point. This is often used in marketing and negotiation.
With the experience of change, and an anchor to compare things to, it’s easier to appreciate good times.

We have a certain capacity to deal with challenges and our minds are naturally attracted to solving problems. That means that in bad times we’ll solve the problems that got us there. It also means that in good times we’ll look for problems and often make them up. That makes our good times feel bad too.

There’s no such thing as fixing all the problems and being happy until the end of time.

Knowing that we give ourselves problems to solve and that we’re always going to be at capacity or close… sucks, on surface.

There’s a huge opportunity to recognize in this and potentially a recipe for living a fulfilling life.

Fill your mind with things worthy of being in it. Empty it daily. You can’t fill something that’s already full.

Pick better problems.

Two Of A Kind

Like the two boats in the picture, there are two types of truth. Two brothers, same, but different.

One is true only when enough people believe it’s true. Other is true regardless who believes it’s true.

It’s important to recognize which one you’re dealing with.

When I ask people for me examples of each type, common example they give me for the first is whether God exists or not. Sigh. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, the belief doesn’t create it. It existed or didn’t exist before you believed or didn’t believe. So God is not a good example for the first type.

So what’s a good example for the first type, a truth that’s only true if enough people believe in it?
Value. Of anything, really, but let’s take money for instance. Money is a number on the paper or bits in the computer. The only thing that allows you to exchange it for other goods with people you don’t know is that they believe they’ll be able to exchange it for something else from someone else they don’t know. If enough people stopped believing in its value, it would no longer have value.
Other societal constructs often also fall into this type.

Evidence based, reproducible, non-anecdotal things are the second type.
2 + 2 = 2 * 2
Gravity attracts matter.
When you push things hard enough they move.
Other sciency stuff.

When does confusing one type of truth for the other cause problems?

Lonely Duckling and Two Actions To Take

Lonely is a state of mind. Lonely is a feeling of a great (unwanted) distance between our emotional self and everyone else’s.
Physical distance (out of sight, out of mind) could play a role but it often doesn’t.

Healing it, then, involves decreasing that distance. We can do that by either moving our emotional self towards someone else’s or someone else’s towards ours. Yes, a combination works too.

Challenge, here, is that we’re not normally very well equipped to quantify and decide on the emotional direction. It’s mostly a byproduct of our physical actions and connections we make through them.

So, good news, there’s something we can do about this. But what?

Seek to understand, not judge. That elevates you. Elevating is a form of moving. Moving to a higher vantage point.

Seek to help, not critique. That moves them.

Through those two actions, we open channels of communication that change the landscape where our emotional selves are located. These channels are like tunnels, shortcuts, that either party can take to get closer.

A byproduct of those actions is the feeling we get for the others that helps us navigate the map and the tunnels.

The distance decreases.

Duckling is not lonely, it’s by itself.

Preko Sunset and Why We Need Hope

Every now and again we need some hope in life. Not because we’re weak or because we can’t handle life, although it does get hard. Especially these days.

We need hope to help us forget that things are out of our control. Hope helps by giving us the feeling that things are going to be ok if we do our best. We need that sense of control to keep calm. We need that sensation of knowing what’s next. We need to fool ourselves into thinking we can predict the future. We’d go crazy without it.

It’s why experiencing a scene like this, or even just seeing a photo, can bring this serenity.

Sun will set, boats will float. Soothing colors will fill the sky and reflect over the sea surface. And sun will rise in the morning again. It always did.

That’s how we predict the future. And if we can do that, then maybe other things we’re trying to control will also happen.

It gives us hope.