Digital Photo Contact Sheet

Ever notice how the Photos app resembles a film negative contact sheet? I am amazed with the viewing experience from the iPad/iPhone/Mac and all the information that is built into it. My workflow is simple: Take images with the iPhone, let them sync to the cloud and they are visible on any device you want to view or edit. I can also shoot images on my digital camera, load the SD card into the reader, insert reader into my device and transfer there for post-processing.

Why do I prefer the iPad to do this with? First, the experience of viewing, choosing, and editing your photos on an iPad is much more fun and interactive than just seeing them on your laptop. I can take my digital photo lab with me everywhere. And seeing my photos on a brilliant screen is more intimate for me. I am able to hold my digital images in my hand and interact with them, flag, post-process, and even sketch the composition.

To speed up my photo processing workflow, I will first look at all my images taken as large thumbnails (just like an old analog film contact sheet.) Neat.

Neon Nights NFT Collection

My first foray into NFT and cryptocurrency trading has begun. I have just minted two digital images for sale on the OpenSea market for .25 ETH coin. This translates to a lot of USD$ for only two images. Will they go to an earnest collector/curator? Time will tell as they are up for a three day auction. If not, I’ll try again for a month long auction.

It’s different, and I’m learning as I go but the speculation is fun!

Travel Photography Tips 

Like everyone else, I am tired of this damned pandemic and want to experience a different reality. So, I’ve masked up, received a vaccination and started booking flights.

Where to?

Migratory birds and pensioners have it right, so I suggest going south for the winter. New Orleans is a little slice of Europe here in the States. Guadalajara has a great blend of Europe and Mexico. Mexico City is on the list for its views. I’m always keen to go back to the Dominican Republic.

Boca Chica

When the weather turns warmer, I’d recommend San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Savannah, Charlotte, Miami, and Chicago.

Hit The Road

I’ve traveled the length of Route 66 from Chicago to LA and kicked myself for not taking the time to stop for better photographic opportunities, so this is definitely on the list again. Big Bend National park on the Texas/Mexico border has been canceled twice due to the pandemic or wildfires. Maybe this year? Pitch a tent, rent an Airbnb or rent, even better, a trailer in a west Texas nomadic hotel.

El Cosmico, Marfa Texas.
Joshua Tree National Park, California

Stealth Mode

Wearing a mask and shooting street photography from a distance can be beneficial and fun.

Minimal Clothing

One backpack filled with limited apparel and essentials. No checked bags at the airport, buy what you need when you get there.

Minimal Gear

For me, it is one camera, one lens, the iPad, external hard drive and the chargers.

Shoot Everything

Memory cards store numerous data, so fill them up. When done for the day, dump them on the iPad and then go back out to play.

Plan Ahead

Map out where you want to shoot, do your homework and take notes. Check out Atlas Obscura for unique finds, Geocaching can take you to unexpected places that aren’t in the tour guides. Refer to these often, so you don’t miss anything.

Airplane Mode

Not just a good idea when you are on a plane, but when you are on the ground and trying to focus. Leaving the phone in Airplane mode limits your distractions, to disconnect, to think, meditate on your life, to create images, you know, the whole reason you started this adventure.

Recover

I go away to get away from it all. It’s funny to me that I rarely do so. Next time, I must promise myself to be in the moment and enjoy it. Otherwise, what was the point?

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Preserve

Constraints

Lately I’ve been frustrated with the lack of shooting opportunities in small town USA. By comparison, larger urban cities are target rich for photo shooters. I’ve spent two hours on two Sundays and walked away with maybe 10 images on the new camera.

Maybe I need to adjust my thinking here and appreciate the creative constraints to just keep shooting for the hell of it.

Artistic Investments

We’ve been taught that it is wise to invest in your future, so you should save and retire comfortably. So, you save and invest in hopes of a nice return on your investment. Now that you’ve saved and invested, what happens? Wait and die without living an enjoyable life? I say invest in what makes you happy, as there are no guarantees anymore. The 401k retirement plans can be worth less than what you’ve invested. Social Security is not sustainable either. But we are still taught and encouraged to keep at it anyway. Sounds like a trap for complacent sheep.

So I’ve done all that, but have a ways to go before retiring. Now I am choosing to invest in my life through other means- by doing what makes me happy while I still can.

For me, this is photography. It is a creative passport that allows me to go anywhere, capture anything and after thirty+ years, I am vested heavily.

A lot of my free time and money go to producing, developing, processing and publishing images with little reward except it makes my soul happy.

Now that I have the tools I want to accomplish these things, I will invest more time in working with other photographers and their art. Investing money into experiences, not gear. Investing both time and money into travel experiences, workshops, and anything else that furthers my desires.

Sonya, the newest and last gear investment

It is difficult to create something in a small town, in a land-locked, flyover state, in the winter, during a pandemic. So, I invested in a trip to New Orleans next month to change my perspective. I love NOLA and feel as if I can never explore it enough. The camera comes with of course to capture those experiences. Instead of investing in all the best cameras, lenses etc. etc., I’ll put my money into travel expenses.

Investing in my own website has paid off beautifully for me these past twenty years and I encourage all artists to do so. Stop sharecropping on Zuck’s platforms and develop on your own land.

I recommend Namecheap for buying your own domain name and web hosting. After making the rounds with most of the web hosts myself, these guys are some of the most reliable. Domain name can be as low as $2 a year. Web hosting as little as $20 a year. Congrats, you have your own website, with your own email address for the cost of 3 Starbucks visits. What a great investment in yourself and your work.

Investing in photo experiences gets me out of the house and since I am currently workin from home it is a lifesaver. New experiences for the wandering misadventurer gives me fresh eyes and new perspectives to make new photos.

Investing in my life and my lifestyle is a wise choice for my time and money.

It is financially wise eating at home more than I eat out, but I haven’t been doing that. This needs to change. The money saved on dining in can go towards that next flight instead. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

More money saved can go towards books, self-educated tools, or even investing in others through cryptocurrency to speculate on photographic works of art (NFTs.) I am slowly seeing opportunities for the blockchain to overtake “social media” photography.

Like most investors, I wish I had the wisdom to have started earlier. I want to take advantage of these new opportunities of investing in myself and earning those rewards.

My First NFT is Now LIVE!

Finally I have minted my first NFT (non-fungible token) titled Neon Nights at Buck Atoms Cosmic Curios on Route 66. Hopefully it will generate enough interest where someone, a curator, will purchase it with the cryptocurrency known as Ethereum.

I don’t have lofty expectations, but it would be fantastic to see it sold the first time out. After that, it’s time to generate some more images of interest and keep this going.

Sonya

Meet Sonya, the Alpha 7 mirrorless camera system from Sony. I managed to grab her, an extra battery, charger, two 128GB memory cards and a Lacie all-terrain mobile 1TB hard drive. Now I need to think about a new photography work flow.