It’s Not Them, It’s You: Confidence and Craft in Photography

In photography, you are either going to be great from the beginning, over time or never at all. No matter what happens, you should treat people nicely, because whether your work is great or mediocre you are building your reputation. In reality, great work is going to happen if you spend enough time and energy thinking and practicing your art.

What is greatness in photography? It is subjective, obviously, but it is a goal. It is a standard that you set for yourself about what can count as a photograph. It is your evolving sense of value in photography and what you consider a keeper. All these things are dynamic and subject to change. One thing is not. How you treat people matters a lot. 

Photography is creating a public record of a person’s image. During any given portraiture session, you might take anywhere from 100 to 1000 photos. Some people will take more. Some people take fewer, but generally with digital photography there are potentially hundreds of photographs that don’t make the cut for every one that does. It’s the same person in the same lighting with the same camera and photographer but only one photograph out of a dozen stands out enough to really count. 

What does it take to get good photographs of a person? There are lots of answers to this question. The main one is practice. You must get good at working with your camera so that you feel confident in your ability to get the shot when the time comes with a model in front of your camera. This will also help with being good to the people you photograph. The more confident you are in your craft, the more you can focus on the subject and their concerns. 

The second key to getting great results with portraiture is to choose good lighting situations. If you don’t have a studio space, overcast days are great for soft light. If it is mid-day during the middle of the summer you are going to have some challenges finding soft light outside. There are many ways to deal with a challenge like this, but the important thing is to figure them out ahead of time, before you are working with a model. There’s always going to be a certain amount of experimentation, but the more you understand how to get the photos you want, the clearer your path to getting great photos.

Portraiture of Character

Erin by the water

Portraits are powerful because they show us a glimpse into the character of a person.

There is something magical about the simplicity of an image of a person’s face.

The goal of portraits is to show something true about a person. It is a way of adding to the human story.

Proof of Concept: Why Evidence Matters

In a world full of deception and lying, it’s only natural that many people would develop a strong sense of skepticism. It’s a defense against the scams and cons that prevail. This creates a cultural ecosystem of disbelief. The question is, how do you communicate an honest message and promote a cause or brand you believe in without being drowned out by naysayers and a tendency to doubt? 

One answer is to prove your concept repeatedly until it is undeniable. If you believe something to be true, then show it. Show how it works. Show what doesn’t work. Explain why. Doing the work of proving a concept is the best way to build credibility. You must earn people’s trust.

Accountability is the key to credibility. If you believe something to be good for you, then showing how it works only makes sense. This is one of the reasons why we value live performances. Without the ability to edit, the live performance creates the appearance of credibility, it is proof of the performer’s abilities.

The most effective way to prove your concept is with consistency. If you can repeatedly come up with the same results, then you have an art. If you achieve your desired goal, but can’t repeat it, then you might have just been lucky. It is through consistent repetition that we gradually grow to believe that someone is honest and that something they are promoting is true. The proof is in the evidence.

Finding the Right Flowers: Cannabis Brands and Strains

The different experiences you can have with cannabis are supremely vast. As a lover of cannabis and an advocate for its use, I want to explain this fact to people who might be canna-curious, so they don’t give up if they don’t find the right fit at first. You can smoke cannabis and feel horrible if it is not good or a good match for you. In the same dispensary you can find other flowers that will make you feel so much better it is hard to believe they are on the same shelf. 

How do you know what will work for you? When you are newer to cannabis, you have several factors to consider, but the first one is your sense of smell. The nose knows. Both when you break open a bud and expose the resinous trichomes and when you light it on fire your nose anticipates the feeling. The taste is greatly associated with how it is going to feel. For this reason, the experience of smoking should be enjoyable from beginning to end and if it becomes harsh or unpleasant than you are either doing it wrong or consuming the wrong flower.

When you find high quality cannabis grown by someone who has gone through the learning curve of experimentation and has a workflow that produces a reliably high-quality product you are in luck. I suggest looking for farms, for cannabis flower brands, and for genetics specialists to find the best bud for you. Then, experiment with the different strains that they produce. I love the flowers grown over at Caring Kind and so for me, I know that I can choose any of their flowers and have a good experience. Stony and co. are producing an array of delicious flavors and every one of them I’ve tried has carried the same level of care and craft. For me, connecting with a grower is key. There is so much to growing cannabis, and when you find someone who loves the craft, you are in luck.

Is there a difference between Indica and Sativa? Oh yes there is. The variety of effects even among the highest quality flowers from the best growers varies greatly. Some people get bad anxiety when they smoke high THC sativa flowers. Other people get knocked flat by a heavy indica. That’s the second thing you must figure out. Sativa, the active “functional” high; or indica, the sedated and mellowed out feeling. What are you going to do when you smoke? Different activities might ask for different flowers. Heavy indicas might reach some pain you are experiencing better and help you to sleep, and you might get inspired with some great ideas from a heady sativa. There is a difference, and it matters, a lot. 

Cannabis consumption for adult use can be a safe and productive set of therapeutic tools to use in your arsenal of work and self-care. To receive the benefits of this amazing plant and to minimize the negative side effects, you want to choose wisely. When it comes to cannabis flowers, you are better off spending more on quality flowers and consuming less. Ultimately, you have to experiment to figure out what is going to work for you in the different ways you might choose to consume cannabis. 

Learning which flowers work best for you is a very fun experimental process. Just go slow and take notes on how it feels. Spend the first five minutes of consuming cannabis focusing on how it is making you feel and then go jump into that work out or go on that hike or whatever you like to use cannabis to enhance. That way, you will know how to make the smartest choice when buying cannabis flowers for your personal use.

Sex, Drugs and Midsummer Nights

When I study Shakespeare, my goals are more creative than academic. I don’t want to be an expert in Elizabethan England. The plays are starting points for conversations, for creative experiments. I don’t care to get the plays right. What I do care is to know them. I want to know as much as I can about how the plays work and what they contain. 

Midsummer Night’s Dream is not as much about sex as it is about sexual tension and attraction and the madness that can happen when young people have their sexuality policed. Hermia and Lysander want to fuck. They are extremely attracted to each other. Hermia’s father must take them to court to try and intervene. 

In the context of the play, the duke is the judge who will decide Hermia’s fate. It just so happens that this family court case is brought before him in the days before his wedding. So, he is full of sexual tension, too. When Hermia defiantly asks what is going to happen when she disobeys her father’s order to marry Demetrius instead of Lysander. Death or the monastery. 

Even the gods are horny and beefing. Oberon and Titania are feuding over a child and they use humans to act out their desires. This is where the drugs come into play. The drug that Oberon instructs Puck to apply to his victims while they are asleep will cause them to fall in love with whomever they first see when they wake up.

I keep thinking about casting this play and I imagine Joe Rogan as Oberon, Steve Will Do it as Puck, Chelsea Handler as Titania. I’m thinking that Natalie Cuomo would make a good Hermia and Kerryn Feehan would crush it as Helena. The cast of actors in the woods has to be some Gas Digital characters. Zac D’Amico as bottom would be great. The legion of Skanks would make up the other cast members. 

Good Headlines Save Lives: The Importance of Powerful Titles

Every day, people publish thoughtful and creative articles, and they dream up some amazingly artful headlines to grab a reader’s attention. Grab is the right word, too. It’s almost an assault. Some of these click bait listicles are so offensively tantalizing they practically give you an unrequested massage. What is a listicle you might ask? It is a title that states: 4 Ways Listicles Will Help You to Win. 

Titles have more importance than ever in a world so noisy with content. We need a way to navigate the chaos, and titles are convenient rafts of easy meaning. If we take the role that titles play in our culture seriously, then we will be able to counter the click bait watering down of journalistic credibility. Making it easy for your readers to recognize that your essay is the kind of writing they want to read is best achieved through creative titling.

The art of writing titles depends upon an ear for tone. How can we make this story pop out in a list of potential search results? How can we entice or excite a reader to engage with an article? The title should match the tone of the essay, but in a distilled and potent manner. It is a shot of espresso, a dab of concentrate.

Without a great title, you are standing naked facing the mighty wind coming off the Pacific Ocean. Unprotected, you expose yourself to becoming chapped and sore at the world. The fog bites at you. Spending time to craft a winning title is putting on your favorite clothes and pair of shoes, of stepping out in the world feeling good about how you look.

Writing is like a boombox without batteries until someone picks it up and reads. It is useless, meaningless inert exhausted energy expired and out of date. The second someone begins to read it; it turns back on. Alive and active in a reader’s mind, the writing blooms into being, has form and substance that morph inside someone’s mind. The words become a copper cable for ideas to follow like electrical current.

For the alchemy of reading to occur, the reader must choose the article. Until this engagement begins, the words are dead and dumb. This simple fact of reading and writing makes the title hold so much weight. The title is the on switch of the reading machine. It is a neon open sign. It is a red lightbulb.

In the Fun Zone with Gillian Young Barkalow

I met up with the great Gillian Young Barkalow and we shot some looks for Xandra Swimwear in the Capitola Village

Summer is here, Capitola is alive with tourism and the fun energy of people on vacation. This dress really expresses that fun vibrant feeling you get when you go on vacation.

Work is fine, work is good, but you should never underestimate the power of the Fun Zone.

Always fun to work with Gillian. Stay tuned for more looks!

Such Stuff As Dreams is Cap

The greatest lines in Shakespeare’s The Tempest happen after the worst part of the play. You have to understand the context to get why this is a funny line to quote. Prospero has just entertained his daughter’s future husband with a supernatural show. It’s the play’s Fantasia moment. Prospero has been orchestrating this whole scam perfectly up until this moment when he remembers that Caliban has bribed the sailors to try and kill him and he stops the show suddenly.

I had forgot that foul conspiracy of the beast Caliban and his confederates against my life.

This is strange. Your Father’s in some passion that works him strongly.

Never till this day saw I him touched with anger, so distempered.

You do look, my son, in a moved sort, as if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.

This is the exchange that happens before the strange rant Prospero deliver about the temporary nature of things. He is trying to distract Ferdinand from the red flag of his weird mood change. It is within this context that he says the famous quote.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Prospero’s anger leads to a dramatic speech he used to try and hide his rage. It isn’t a philosophical reflection delivered in a soliloquy. It is a performative speech designed to hide his true intention. Such stuff as dreams is cap.

Strain Review: PyramidZ by FLORACAL FARMS powered by Seed Junky Genetics

Summer is here and the strawberries are making life juicy. Want to try something great? Eat a big bite of strawberry in between tokes of cannabis. The tartness of the fruit gets your salivary glands going and helps to keep you from getting cottonmouth.

These FloraCal Farms flowers are delicious, dark beautiful buds full of trichomes and THC. The bud structure is springy, the buds don’t crumble. This is a quality phenotype grown expertly by a premium farm.

The strawberries are from Amor Organics, and are huge juicy chunks of Watsonville sunlight turned into fruit.

The PyramidZ smoke is wet and fruity itself. You don’t need to eat strawberries in between tokes of this bud. The sour grape fruit punch flavor is smooth and juicy.