contentment

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

This Lao Tzu quote is hitting home for me.

Subtle to none post edits

 

morning light, white rose
Fujifilm x100T | 23mm | ISO 200 | f2.0 | 1/220

I like edited photos but, I don’t like the edited look on my photos. Does that make any sense? If you scroll through my Flickr favorite photos (from people I follow), you will see that I like those deeply saturated, cleaned, contrasted images (mostly landscapes).

I don’t like that look for my own work. I prefer my work to be as close to “straight out of the camera” as possible. I might make small adjustments to exposure, white balance, and contrast but, those are (I feel) always subtle adjustments.

This is one of the reasons I like the Fujifilm X series so much; I really like the look of images straight from the camera. It’s as close to what I envision more so than any other camera images I have tried (Sony, Nikon, Canon, etc.). If I have my camera settings correct, then I don’t have to do any post editing (which, as you may have already guessed, I don’t like doing).

It’s also why I like the camera models that I have (XT-1 and X100T); all of the necessary controls are easily located as manual buttons and dials. At least, all of the things that I regularly adjust. I don’t have to dig through menus and sub-menus to make common adjustments.

The same “subtle post edits only” policy is also something I try to apply to images from my phone. Though, I have to admit, I am only using my phone as a camera as an easy out/excuse to not carry around an actual camera. It’s a lazy approach to this hobby and, a habit that I want to try to break myself from.

 

 

these are my working tools

Mid morning break
This morning, like most, was filled with conference calls. I get a lot of use out of that headset. It’s bluetooth but, I use it tethered (USB cord) more often since I whip through the headset’s battery so quickly.

The keyboard is fairly new; just a little over two weeks I think. I pound on it. I’m a loud typer (yes, I’m that guy in your office). But this one is surprisingly quiet. It does a really good job of absorbing my frustrat, er… passionate typing. I also like that I can prop my phone on it, and play music or white noise from it, on the rare occasions while not on a call. The keyboard also pairs with mutiple devices (so does the mouse) which keeps the clutter away.

The 27″ monitor is a luxurious necessity. Working on anything smaller is almost (first world problem) painful. It’s just enough screen real estate to do everything I want to do. The laptop only opens when I need to use the integrated camera for video calls.

Not far off is my notebook. It’s a scratch pad and wannabe task list I keep it close by because I love writing, the act of writing, the feel and the sound of writing. It is, and always will be, hard for me to not have a pen and paper near me when I’m working.

I often daydream abut having a more manual, hands on job. But then I’m quickly reminded that I really don’t like manual labor. Stupid daydreaming fantasies giving me a warped sense of reality. No, being a fishing boat captain is not a fulfilling way to live your life… or, is it? It probably is, right? I’m sure it is. Stupid brain, you tool. Get back to work!

raw is beautiful, and so are mistakes

Florence + the Machine: Tiny Desk Conert at NPR
https://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=656587526&mediaId=657800317

I appreciate the Tiny Desk concerts much like I appreciated MTV’s Unplugged sessions. Listening to artists and musicians, in their “raw” forms, gives me a much greater appreciation for the skill, work, and talent that they put into their craft. Raw is great; we don’t get the polished, over-produced, multiple take versions of tracks. We watch (and hear) them work through every detail, every component of the track, and on occasion experience a mistake that ends up being, well… beautiful.

I’m not a musician. I know how to read sheet music but I see notes like words, I don’t hear them. I learned (tried to, at least) a few instruments but, nothing stuck. I’m not a musician. But, I do have a deep appreciation for music. I love the process and the result (feeling) that it instigates and injects into life.

Tiny Desk is one of my favorite things on the internet because I get to see and hear all of this, and even discovery new artists. Florence + the Machine does a really good job, here. I love hearing them “raw” versus any of their produced work.

Mid-afternoon Dim Sum

Too much time passes between time spent with friends. That’s the lesson I keep learning, because that’s the lesson I never retain.

Soy sauce chow mein
Soy sauce chow mein

Over the weekend, a friend I haven’t seen in over five years came to visit.  We first met in 2013, as part of Journey (a two week tour of South Korea for Korean Adoptees). We keep in touch through periodic online chats but, as you know, those will never replace the value of in-person time together.

She is in the area for an adoptee conference, in San Francisco, and detoured to Sacramento so we could catch up. It was overall great, and kind of fun to show her the sights and low key attitude of Sacramento.

She lamented the lack of good Asian food in Copenhagen (where she lives) so, we ended the first evening with a pretty good mid-afternoon dim sum dinner at Yue Huang Dim Sum, in the Natomas area of Sacramento. Who knew there was a good place nearby? As we were there after 3 PM, we had to order a la carte items from a menu (versus pulling off of rotating carts) but, managed to get a good meal of it all.

Shrimp and eggplant
Shrimp stuffed eggplant

The shrimp stuffed eggplant were quite good. I loved the contrast of the creamy eggplant and the crunchy topping.

Walnut buns
Walnut buns

The walnut buns were a little too sweet for my liking but I loved that they looked like actual walnuts.

All in all, it was just a good reminder that there are a lot of people out there that I want to spend time with.

Five things for the week

  1. We finally braved the California DMV* (without an appointment, nonetheless less) to get our California driver’s licenses and license plates. We are now “California official”, or at least, official again. It’s a weird thing to focus on but, I feel more at home knowing my license and car tags say “California” on them again.
  2. I finally (I hope) cleaned up my iTunes library. Having multiple backups in multiple locations definitely came in handy. Let that be a lesson to any reading this; keep multiple backups in multiple locations for everything important to you. I lost maybe ~10 songs in the process but, can always rip them from CDs again. I’m also just waiting for iTunes to screw it all up again. The plus side of doing this (it took half a day) was that I got to listen to a lot of music that I had almost forgotten that I had.
  3. A friend, from Denmark, is staying with us tonight. It’s fun to catch up and, later, wander around the city with her. Haven’t seen her in 5 years, since our time in Korea.
  4. I’m writing this while sitting outside on my patio, in the cool quiet morning. I need to write/work outside more often.
  5. I’m slightly annoyed that I didn’t have a (new) picture to include with this post. Need to change that for the next time.

 


*There is much hoopla over how efficient the DMV is, including wait times and overall confusion for customers. The soonest available appointment that we could get would have been the end of November, which is what made us decide to brave the lines. All said and done, it took about 2.5 hours to get through everything. Not horrible but, we are definitely thankful it’s done.