Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Workspace

Pardon me while I take a moment to complain.


There is often a lack of attention given to one's working environment. In an office, layout of spaces is a facet of efficiency, how many bodies can be reasonably crammed into single space (or so that it my experience as far as offices go). In the creative industry, work space layout is less restricted by the demands of absolute efficiency, but when one's work space is ultimately one's home, the parameters by which it is constrained amount to where it can fit in amid the necessary trappings of day to day life. Herein lies my complaints about my current living situation. My home does not have the space to accommodate the kinds of creative activity I'd like to indulge.


Home for me is humble, a two bedroom apartment shared with my partner and our pet bunnies and bearded dragon. Our kitchen and living room are something of an open concept space just past the front door, once bedroom functions as the bedroom its meant to be and the other serves as a shared office. And that's it. Room to keep studio lights set up, room to even set them up temporarily and tear them down, does not exist. And as much as the mutual office is great for those nights spent relaxing and playing games with my partner, it's a piss poor environment in which to engage in the very private and personal exercises of anything akin to creative work, be it photo editing or, in this case, blog writing. It's becoming a critical problem for me as I'm growing in my photographic work.

The loathed office. Ideal for cooperative gaming,
appalling for actual work, creative or otherwise.

Particularly bothering me tonight is the desire to write, about which subjects to write, and flesh out mature photo essays on subjects of interest. The need to avoid diversion is obvious, but in such a small home of universally shared spaces they are impossible to escape. To gather the focus to even write this bitchfest of a blog post I'm sitting in the living room to avoid the diversion and self consciousness associated with working on such material with eyes potentially over the shoulder, but even now the activity of the bunnies and eternal allure of white noise on the TV is an overwhelming distraction. The patio of the apartment complex isn't an improvement, what with the droning buzz of dozens of air conditioning units, sirens in the night air and planes flying in to land at the nearby airport. For once, I understand the appeal people find in moving greater and greater distances away from development and civilization.


Even in the exercise of creating half assed blog posts,
the M. Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 plagues me with lens flare.
Ideally I'd be writing on any number of topics cataloged in a running list amid the solitude of a quiet basement, perhaps with lyric-free ambiance playing in the background, and with the room to set up a reflective table, take a few snaps of the night's subject, quickly process commit them to my usual verbose prose. Tonight, the best I feel capable of doing is complaining about not having a place to set up such a studio apparatus, snapping a few photos of my miserable work spaces and sharing the claustrophobic realms in which I do my work, all the while gripping with a pang of guilt knowing others work in far more miserable spaces and don't feel nearly as compelled to complain. My standards are admittedly high.


Possibly the only place in my humble abode capable of
providing me any semblance of necessary solitude for work.
To get absolutely basic with my complaints, it boils down to displeasure in the shared office and hatred of my computer desk in general. Creativity, for me, requires a strong sense of privacy, and space in which to self express is a necessity. I simply can't get that here. The simple solution is to move, but this isn't the cheapest area of the contiguous United States in which to live, nor is the process of moving particularly stress free. A standalone studio space was a brief thought, but effectively snuffed when it amounted to effectively doubling monthly rent obligations for less space than simply waiting a couple more years, saving and buying a house with the same amount of room for a single, smaller mortgage payment. Patience, as usual, is the deciding factor.


I'm done, for now. A temporary solution can be found, and I have admittedly spent more time being annoyed than being inventive with solutions to my perceived space constraints. Now pardon me, a bunny just hopped into my lap and it's suddenly hard to type, even to complain.

                                                                                     

As an aside, the images above were quickly snapped with the M. Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8. I've been using it extensively in my real estate work for the past 2 months, and on the whole it is a huge upgrade from the limitations of the 12-40mm f/2.8 when it comes to the wide end. I've come to find the 8-10mm focal lengths indispensable in my work, and after years of finding the 12mm focal length in both the PRO zoom and f/2.0 prime lens variations more than wide enough, suddenly that focal length feels utterly limiting.

Flare, however, persists in being an issue with the lens. Most of the time I've been able to work around it either by intelligent positioning or using my hands to shield hard light sources, but it's nonetheless problematic. With nothing else in my optical arsenal to compare it to, however, I'm still unsure if it's a deal killer for the lens or simply life as usual with such ultra wide optics. My use cases are never particularly easy, of course - contrast laden scenes are endemic to interior photography.