All posts tagged “video

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how photography helps me with depression

At some point in my college/grad school career, I remember reading something about depression from a philosophical POV. I can’t remember who the author was, but I do remember a line about depression being akin to a restlessness of the soul. Maybe. I certainly feel restless when I get depressed. I want to do nothing, and yet at the same time, I want to do anything but stay still.

My mother, who I never think of as being depressed, told me recently that whenever she’s felt down, she wills herself out of depression by just doing something, anything. I don’t think this would work for people who are clinically depressed, but it seems to work for her. Still, I don’t like the sound of it. I don’t feel like I can will myself out of anything when I’m down. So, I just remain stubborn and somewhat miserable until the clouds pass.

And then, this year, I started filming things and taking photos. I even started getting paid to do so as a second shooter for a local wedding/event videographer.I think I have a decent eye, and I think I have some instincts for a good versus a bad shot. BUT, learning how to use the camera–really use it–is not easy. The hardest part about taking a picture is the fact that I have a great little camera in my IPhonbe, and it takes good pictures with no effort. But to jump up to really good pictures, you need something better. AND if you want to control exactly what your image is going to be like, then you really need to bust out a camera and not use the auto settings. You have to think about light–quality and color. You have to think about composition and exposure. And if you’re shooting moving pictures, you have to think about all these things plus make sure you are in focus and not walking into a wall.

But the first step is to slow down and experiment and learn your camera. And this, unexpectedly, takes me back to the depression thing.

The other day I was walking with my son. HE likes to explore the smallest things–cracks in the sidewalk or a patch of black asphalt or even a leaf. He has all the patience in the world for this. I now am bringing my camera on walks with him, because he teaches me to look at old things in new ways. But still sometimes, I get impatient. Why are my photos looking crappy? How can I make what I want in my mind to come out? Which button? I can feel my blood pressure rise, not out of anger, but out of an almost desperate need to figure out the problem, so I can move on to the next.

And this when it hits me: it’s this kind of thinking, this kind of need to speed through things that often leads me to depression, to that boredom of my soul. I’m trying to go faster and faster through the things I can do so I can do more. But to what end? It’s like that idiot who gets behind you on a Sunday morning and is hugging up against your back fender only to finally pass you. But then you see him up at the next light, stopped at the same red light that you are stopped at. And you wonder: what was the rush?

Maybe the rush, the need for speed, both on the road and in life, is just a palliative for boredom, an attempt to run away from depression, but ironically, at least for me, I think, it also is what rushes me towards depression. Instead of just sitting back and letting myself explore, I get anxious. But the camera, as with anything else that’s worthwhile, will not be rushed. The camera asks me to slow down and just be with it, and eventually, it tells me its secrets. And though I hate to be slowed down at first, in the end, I appreciate the lack of speed.

It makes me calmer, and yes, though I don’t always realize it, happier, as well.

It makes me happy.

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how can you tell the difference between being patient and being lazy?

only patience makes great art, only impatience makes artists finish anything

only patience makes great art, only impatience makes artists finish anything

So, almost two years later, I finished my 52nd story, which you can check out here.  If there is anyone out there who isn’t convinced that writing is like exercise and must be done regularly in order to stay in shape, well this story is proof of that. Writing is not easy, but the act of writing does become just a bit less taxing when you get that butt in the seat and start.  In fact, it’s quite enjoyable–sometimes.  My 52nd story, is a step towards finding my footing again, which is good.  That said, in my opinion, it seems to suffer from something I call the beeflessness of bad writing:  Interesting idea, but maybe not quite right for the genre of micro-fiction, or just lacking in enough intellectual protein to make the complete journey.  So why do I post it?

You can only find out what works by getting yourself writing, and I need deadlines in order to get myself writing.  So I told myself I wanted post this week and I went for it.  But here’s the problem: how do I balance my need for getting things done with the need to be patient?

One thing I have not done enough as a writer is give myself the permission and time to go back and re-do things, which is odd considerimng the name and theme of this blog.  But what I mean here is that I’ve come to realize that one of my biggest challenges is finding the right line between patience and laziness.  In other words, the more I listen to other people talk about their projects, the more I realize that the reason that a lot of projects don’t get done is that people don’t actually do the hard work and do them.  At the same time, you have to be patient.  You have to value your work enough to make sure that it’s worthy of readers.

the patient grasshopper

the patient grasshopper

For the film projects I’m working on, patience is not a choice.  I’m kind of stuck right now because I don’t have some basic gear yet, and even when I do get that done, there is also the problem of not having the right people or having the right people who don’t have time just now.  So, patience is forced upon me.  That said,  I have to push hard to look for ways to do what I can or I won’t ever find the funds to get my equipment or to get those people I need.

As a writer of fiction, the patience is more internal.  I can write as fast as my fingers and brain will allow.  I can put out a “finished” product whenever I feel like it–at least I can do so on my portfolio blog.  But truthfully, I need to make sure I give the piece in question its due attention.  I need to value it enough to make time for it the way I make time for  valued friend.   Sometimes that means trying the same story in a different setting, voice, or even a different genre.  Though I know this, the problem is that I feel a pressure to produce.  I want to create something that pushes my career a notch higher.  The paradox in that is that by rushing a piece before its time, I am assuring myself a very long wait.

As I write this, I realize that what it means to be an artist, a real artist, is finding that sweet spot for yourself and not giving in to some kind of external pressure.  The idea of taking that kind of control is both extremely exciting AND overwhelming.  But it is where I need to get.

What do you guys think?  How do you find that place between pushing yourself to get work done and waiting for it to be done?

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Marvelous Monday 5

Enjoy this lovely and quiet film from the guys at Flow Media.  A digital creative agency out of Europe.

THE CHAIR DESIGNER II making of production from FLOW MEDIA on Vimeo.


I saw this on the GH3 User group on Vimeo. It’s a group of people who have the same camera I just bought. This is an interesting short film that shows off some of the qualities I like about this camera and that I hope to learn how to harness.

Enjoy & Happy Marvelous Monday!

Graded version of GH3 Demobbed (Review 7) from Nick Driftwood on Vimeo.

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Limitations Goal Setting
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knowing your limitations vs. having a defeatist attitude…

Last week, I got a tweet from Ewen Rankin, a photographer working out of the UK.  Ewen hosts a podcast about photography called, The Photo Show, which is quite good.  It deals mainly with gear news and questions from listeners, but it’s different than a lot of other podcasts that cover the same ground.  In large part, this is because of Ewen.  The fact that he is a working photographer gives the show some legitimacy.  You don’t feel like you’re hearing from someone who just collects gear for gear’s sake, which is a hole that so many photo/video guys to seem to fall into when they go out and do podcasts.  So, you should check Ewen’s show out if you’re interested in photography.

image of Panasonic GH3

my lovely new GH3

Anyway, the reason I’m really bringing Ewen up is because in my attempts to re-DO my career and make some money telling stories, I have been putting myself out there in the Twitter-verse and Facebook-a-landia.  And this is why Ewen contacted me.  He wanted to know if I would write a review on the camera I recently bought: a Panasonic GH3.  I saved up for this thing for six months, because I knew that if I wanted to produce more stuff, I needed to have a camera of my own.  I was excited to get it, and I tweeted as much, and Ewen very kindly asked if I would write something for a tech site that he runs.

I still haven’t responded, but my initial reaction is to say no.  My wife, who is one of those people who does things perfectly and takes her time when making decisions, surprised me when she told me I should say yes.  My feeling is that I can’t just go out and review something I don’t really know.  More to the point, this is my first LEGIT camera, so I don’t have enough experience to compare it with another.  And yet, my wife thinks I should just write something.

What do you all think?  Am I being too careful?  Or am I respecting my current limitations?  Right now, I’m thinking I should write Ewen back and offer to write something in a couple months if he still wants/needs a review.



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Marvelous Mondays 1

This is a lovely video and a lovely act of random beauty.  If you want to see more acts like this, check out Chase Jarvis’ post


Proof positive that no two snowflakes are the same:

snowflake by Simon Beck

Simon Beck’s wonder art

Simon Beck's lovely images

another lovely Snowflake from Simon Beck


And on this MLK day, a day that should inspire some hope, here is a lovely image from the NYC based photographer, Danny Goldfield.  I found these on Chase Jarvis’ blog, which is a real must for any photographer/lover of images:

child giding among colored balls

find the child in this lovely image by Danny Goldfield


image by Danny Goldfield

I love this lovely face (thanks to Chase Jarvis’ blog)

pic of Obama (Jim Young Reuters)

it is Inauguration Day


A Marvelous Monday to you!!


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