Way Too Busy

I’m going to just like not do any new posts, probably til June at the earliest after I sit for my medical coding exam. I’m starting to get behind and can’t do any sort of blogging anytime soon.

I’ve also shut down the writing blog for now. I may be taking photographs when I get free time before then but hopefully I’ll be vaccinated soon and certified and working again if all goes well. In the meantime, don’t expect any new posts for a while; I simply don’t have time to be playing around with my blogs anymore, and I probably don’t have time to do much creative work either.

So sorry about that if you look forward to or enjoy viewing my work, I’ve really gotta prioritize what I’m doing, and for now school is way more important than Things Artistic; up until I signed up for that the plan was to pursue photography professionally and I’m kind of realizing I have to set that side a bit longer (again). Oh well.

See you with some new work around June hopefully. The galleries will still be up as will this site and the portfolio site for anyone interested in viewing any of my photographic work.

Witching Wood Shot in Four Steps

So rather than like write creepy Lovecraftian horror scenarios after Photoshopping pet dogs into Eldritch horrors, I have decided to share a gallery that shows one of the Witching Wood shots as it progressed through various filters. Sorry about the creepy post, by the way, I just felt the need to write about extradimensional horror after posting a mutt invoking Cthulhu for some reason. School’s getting to me I think. On to today’s image now in it’s four incarnations.

This is the original exposure, not run through Camera RAW; I shot it years ago with a Nikon D50 before I even knew what the aperture was (it’s a nice composition but for years that was the only thing I knew how to do effectively, I can kinda use a camera’s technical capacities and almost know what I’m doing these days).

This is that original negative after being run through Camera RAW, sort of the underpainting; I made the colors, etc., a little more vivid than true to life in terms of touch-up work because I knew I’d be running it through Nik Collection filters next and I wasn’t going for a true to life shot here. Step two, basically.

This is step 3, or after using Analog Efex to create antique camera filters (I usually like playing with the wet plate one but there’s an array of old camera types and filters you can use and adjust with it). It’s a little darker and more earth-toned, with a blurred and darkened vignette around the edges now. There’s one more step after this, which is also a Nik Collection filter set.

This is the final shot; blurred, darkened, with glowing and light effects, a little muddier yet and moodier. It lacks the jagged edges and sharp/harsh lighting of the previous one, and hopefully that gave it a creepier effect overall. It’s been run through several filters in the Color Efex set.

Overall I have to admit even the basic (totally automated and done by the camera’s computer with the only manual adjustment being the flash disabled- yes, I shot that with a 6 megapixel camera in auto mode and probably used autofocus too- things I don’t do anymore really) exposure unedited is a pretty nice shot of the river and rock face at Natural Bridge VA. And I think all of these stages could stand alone on their own pretty well, even if the initial touch-up is a little too untrue to life for my tastes. But this is basically a very abridged before and after set of shots. I’ll post a slideshow below so you can click/tap and scroll through them in order in the carousel view, then ramble a bit more.

But basically that’s a shot that I honestly overlooked and found while scrolling through my archive, before deciding it had a good set of compositional elements for turning into a kinda moody-gothy-witchy type of photo edit. Basically in Photoshop you get stuck with a set of sliders for these to globally (or if you’re more savvy than I usually am, locally) edit an image; the Witching Wood set’s been made using basically just global applications of the filters and a lot of tweaking things ranging from shadows and highlights to vignette size and shape, degree of blur, type of soft focus, and so on.

What you don’t see here is the time spent tailoring and selecting the filters and all the individual sliders that get adjusted from Camera RAW on through the two Nik Collection filters laid overtop each other; I’m not sure I’m willing to make a video of myself doing one of these in that much detail but I will admit I’ve gotten to where after I’ve come up with some sort of basic recipe I can get one done in a matter of minutes. Mostly that’s from years of playing and experimenting with the program and self-teaching myself uhhh…everything I know about it, to be honest. I do find the process a lot more fun than sometimes even shooting actual photographs for some reason, and I generally speaking run through each image individually and manually from start to beginning even if I’m using the same filter set to get the lighting and everything else where I want it (you can actually save “recipes” and just wash, rinse, and repeat in Photoshop and Lightroom I think, and while I’m using the same filters more or less for a themed gallery, I do tailor each filter’s numerous sliders individually- it kinda feels like I’m cheating if I don’t, and I’m able to make each image shine a lot more this way even if it takes a lot longer than a shortcut would take).

I am tempted to do some tutorials at some point but that really is dependent on me getting my butt off the computer and into the medical coding textbook that’s trying to make me legitimately lose my mind here. Hopefully I’ll have some new stuff done over the weekend. Anyway, just thought it’d be neat to share the editing process at least in part for one of the shots.

A Bit Busy

So basically I’m in a medical coding class that’s 3 months long and really intense. I spent yesterday getting caught up (think like schoolwork for almost ten solid hours) not realizing how difficult the coursework was. It’ll be over in late May, so between then and now I’m not sure how much I’ll get done. I am hoping once it’s done, I can find work, and then be able to do more photography more regularly because I’ll have some external structure to my life, but we’ll see. In the past I’ve always done more creative work when employed, and I’ve been disabled a long time so…

I do want to spend some of the year especially during the wait for a vaccine working through my archive and just getting the galleries properly filled out (sadly they’re just a fraction of my work, to be totally honest, and much of it is more recent work; I’m just horribly organized and not a professional (yet) it turns out). Like later tonight my nocturnal self is going to be studying…medical coding for hours and I hope I can do a few edits here and there but it’s like nonstop studying with anything medical, I’m finding.

But hopefully I’ll find work and have some income I can throw towards travel and so on when this is through. Meanwhile I won’t be posting as often I’m pretty sure.

Beautiful Accident (Old Egret Shot)

This is an old favorite shot of mine, redone in Color Efex Pro (Nik Collection, as usual).

I totally did this by accident just now, it saved the filters from the shot I did before (which looked nothing like this one, had a snowy egret and a lot of green plant life) and I barely had to tweak a thing. It always feels like cheating when that happens, but sometimes a set of filters works really well together on a totally random unrelated shot. Sometimes that happens in Photoshop, a happy accident. Anyway enjoy the shot, dumb luck on my part but I think it’s gorgeous.

Happy Chinese New Year

A little late, but happy Chinese New Year! It’s year of the Ox this year (I’m actually an Ox person as it turns out, so ha!)

The Taoist part of me is really wishing we weren’t in quarantine because he’d love to be in NYC’s Chinatown just dorking around and enjoying the festivities. Another year perhaps.

Anyway, if you ever get into Pagan and Taoist thought at the same time, and you do Celtic strands of Pagan thought, you get to celebrate three new year’s celebrations (the standard January 1st one, the evening of October 31st/day of November 1st (Celtic Samhain), and this one, which is this year 2/12/21 right after the February new moon (Chinese New Year)). Madness, I know, but I like my bizarre array of celebrations, and I’m also mentally ill, thus susceptible to madness.

Anyone who’d like to learn a little about Taoism I’ll invite to swing by Derek Lin’s webpage on the topic or pick up one of his books on the topic (or just grab a decent or fun translation of the Tao Te Ching, there’s tons of them, I like Derek Lin’s and Ursula Le Guin’s and go crazy with it; Derek’s is online on his webpage somewhere without annotations but the paperback is worth getting and mulling over those too).

Happy (Chinese) new year!

New Photos, Fatigue, Updates…

Hey, so long story short, I did post about a recent manic episode. The usual happened; they put me in a hospital for a while and I’m on new meds and as of today I’m almost too tired to function at all, not entirely from, but partially from, said medications.

So that’s gonna put a damper on new posting I have a feeling, or at least new photography. Today I’ve been awake three hours and I’m like probably barely awake enough to safely drive after a cup of coffee and half a pot of tea. What I’ve decided to do is just work on sorting out fatigue between now and when the pandemic is (sort of, for the West at least) over and enough of the population is vaccinated for a return to normality (if that’s ever coming back). I may well not take the camera out for a long while. What I will do instead is get through my archive backlog, and fill up the galleries. I’m debating setting up a smugmug site or etsy site for selling prints in the meantime as well; we’ll see what happens. I’m not super enthused to be setting the camera aside for a few months (I’ll probably be vaccinated sooner than most of the population thanks to pre-existing health conditions) but maybe it’s best if I get all my work to date uploaded, protected, and for sale somehow or other.

I have, as of yesterday, uploaded two new images (two versions of each, one for the Forest Photography gallery and one for The Elven Wood gallery of each); they’re in the gallery below.

I’m going to get back into writing which just makes more sense for social distancing (I’m hoping creative expression, done regularly like I used to, will help a bit with energy, but that’s not totally likely); I used to do a fair bit of essays, poetry, and short fiction (as well as the odd novel that wasn’t worth publishing) so maybe that sort of thing will start to show up on the other site before long.

Either way I’m suspending regular posting on both sites but things will be updated piecemeal. I’ll try and make a note after any major updates.

Other than that I’m hopefully going to be doing some healthcare education type stuff to break into that field and out of disability; prior to being disabled I was always more creatively productive when I had regular work and structure but what with fatigue who knows what’s happening. I do plan on getting a little more well rounded with photography via an intensive course somewhere down the road but I’m not sure when that’ll happen. For what it’s worth, it may amuse some of you to know I’m a natural light photographer in a bad way- I barely know how to use the flash (generally speaking, I don’t…ever). As a self-taught photographer, I am really rough around the edges even if some of my stuff is really good.

I’ll post updates as any of the above changes, or I feel I’m healthy enough to commit to regular posting once more.

Hope you have a good day however you’re doing, and I’ll try and visit your blogs as well in time I’m just really tanked out energy-wise today, it seems to get slowly worse with every passing today and it’s a new low today.