Most of us are having to adjust to rather extreme temporary measures in our daily lives. Our focus has become on indoor time.I won’t say it is a “new normal” because I hate that phrase and it is tossed around too easily.
This has caused most of us to spend way more time indoors than we are used to and are comfortable with. As photographers, we are accustomed to being out shooting a lot. So what are you doing with your new indoor time? I’ll give you a brief rundown of some of what I am doing.
I hate to admit it, but I was thousands of images behind in sorting and tagging and grading. I have spent MANY hours in Lightroom recently trying to get caught up. I’m not there yet, but I have dealt with thousands of images. That is tiring.
But it also can be rewarding. I have run across a lot of images I had mostly forgotten about. It makes me feel good to find these pockets of images I really like. It encourages me that maybe I have a history of making decent images. Plus, they remind me of good times and great experiences I have had.
Do I really need to do all this detailed filing? Probably not. But it is critically important (to me) to go through the sorting and filtering process to narrow them down to the set of images I am proud to show to anyone. For me, this takes several rounds of serious evaluation and making hard choices. It is very difficult for me to “let go” of images I really like that don’t make the cut.
Along with filing comes post-processing. This seems like a never-ending struggle. Trying to catch up on thousands of images that have not been processed yet brings with it the opportunity to edit many of them.
I am constantly learning new techniques for processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. So this is a great opportunity for me not only to catch up, but to practice some new methods and get more efficient. And my values and vision seems to evolve all the time.
I make it harder on myself because I am often not content to process an image and have done with it for all time. No, every time I take a new look at many of my images I have a different inspiration about what to do with a few of them.
So between trying to catch up on a backlog of lots of images and re-processing many that I see differently now, I have a lot of work. Luckily I enjoy the post-processing in the computer. I view it as one of the creative parts of photography. But it is very time consuming.
Yes, I am a computer nerd. Well, I used to be. Now the computer is just a tool. I no longer have an intimate relationship with them. But as I have written in the past, I am fanatical about backup. This has been an opportunity to review my system and make some changes.
I have levels and levels of backup. One of the last levels is rotating storage offsite (where they’re then backed up again. ☺ ). My offsite disks have been too small for a while to hold all of my main catalog. I had to restrict them to the “most important” images. That has been uncomfortable. It was a chink in the armor. So I took this opportunity to replace the offsite storage with larger disks. Now I can backup everything in my main catalog to each of them.
WD makes some great little portable disk drives. This MyPassport drive seems very reliable and pretty fast. And the physical size is amazing for 5 Terabytes of storage. I do not receive any benefit from referring this. I included an Amazon link, but, honestly, I would recommend finding another vendor.
Warning, when you attach a 5 T disk to your system don’t think you are going to just copy your files to it and be done in a few minutes. If your computer can transfer data to the backup at a rate of 100MBytes/sec, it will take a few days to do the initial copy. Subsequent updates only take minutes, because they typically only affect a few GBytes. There is 3 orders of magnitude between a GByte and a TByte.
Study and read
For an introvert like me, free time means reading or study time.
One of the benefits of the popularity of photography is that there is limitless information available, online and in books. You remember those things printed on paper, don’t you?
Ah, but that glut of information brings other problems. Who do you trust? How to separate the useful from the useless? There is a lot of bad or useless information out there. You can learn good information from a bad example, but I don’t recommend it unless that is the only alternative.
I admit to being rather jaded. I am technical and creative and very experienced. It is hard for me to find someone I trust to give me good information. I don’t want to come across as arrogant. This is something that happens with lots of experience in a field.
Two instructors I can recommend who consistently do great training are Dave Cross and Ben Willmore. They are fantastically deep in their knowledge of the tools and are good communicators. Plus, they mostly teach how to use and understand the tools, not “cookbook” methods for copying the results of someone else.
Study your equipment
I believe intimate knowledge of your equipment pays off. If you can’t use your tools rapidly and with little thought they will get in your way rather than help you be creative. This is an opportunity to spend time practicing with your camera.
I moved to a mirrorless body about a year ago. I confess that I have struggled with it some. It is not as convenient and user friendly as a larger and more mature DSLR. I am comfortable using it for normal day to day shooting situations, but I could not pass the blindfold test like I could with previous bodies. That is, I could not reliably set the camera up for a particular shooting situation blindfolded (or in the dark).
I love the quality of the images from the mirrorless camera, but I am having to spend extra time making it natural and intuitive to use. I am working on that as part of my down time.
Get out and shoot
I may make some people mad for saying this, but I am out shooting almost every day. Our officials here kindly allow us to be out walking, biking, etc. I take advantage of it to wander with my camera. I try to get out walking 2-4 miles a day. It is very good for me health-wise and for my sanity. Plus I like to practice shooting every day. Sometimes I even get a decent image.
I also occasionally jump in the car and drive out of town for some photos. For instance, we had an unusually large snow last week (as I am writing this). I was out all afternoon shooting. It was great and very refreshing! For the sticklers, I was never within 20 feet of another person. But then, I do not worry about Covid and I am not concerned about catching it when I am out and about. I refuse to be paralyzed by fear.
Time well spent
These are some of the things I am doing in my “confinement”. I hope I will look back on it as time well spent. A chance to regroup, catch up on some things, refresh and recharge. I hope you are able to make productive use of your time indoors, too.
Let me know how you are doing. I would love to hear from you. Sign up to receive notifications. Please visit my gallery site and let me know what you think.
I hope you are well and I’m glad you’re reading! Even if it is because you are bored. 🙂