Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Modern Narrative (Resistance)

Never in my wildest imaginings did I anticipate entering into an established sense of adulthood during a period so tumultuous as these times we live in today.


This is the Modern Narrative. That of myself, of an entire generation of young people. Having grown and matured in one of the most economically and intellectually fruitful periods of modern history, having attained a state of self-awareness not unilaterally shared amongst our peers and elders, we are trapped, consigned to a perpetual state of both inward and outward conflict as we protest the conservative inclinations and social regress both natural and typical of generational divides throughout history. Which is not a statement with intent to diminish the validity of that stalwart stand for social progress - Such endeavors have historically been, and will continue to be, critical to the betterment of our species.

It is an exhausting state of being, whether willing or unwilling. A configuration of daily existence I fear will prove untenable over a long enough timeline as we wither as people, submit to cynicism and lazy generalization as we tire. Yet we have no choice but to engage with it every day, exercising hyper-vigilance in defense of the social progress that has only ever made us the more free as a people. To engage with the (to us) antiquated human impulse to seek out an "Other", an artificial sub-being upon which we might elevate ourselves mere inches to complete foolish fantasies of being among giants.

I fear that all of us caught in the undertow of this age will pass far too early for wont of our collective stress. An entire generation, doomed to aneurysms as a consequence of the period to which they were born. Our lot in life was only ever doomed to perpetual decline... Yet we will still struggle against it, for hope those generations coming after may leapfrog us to an enviable state of Higher Being.

May our backs be a strong foundation upon which better people will stand.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Faux Album Covers

I never futzed about with the text tool in Snapseed before, never really considered it a value add in my mobile photography exploits before. While killing time between shoots this weekend, I ended up wandering around the Naval Yard neighborhood that has been an up and coming project of the north of of DC's southeast waterfront, snapping at random just to occupy time. None of these photos above are particularly compelling on their own, but exploring the application of text to make faux album covers, the took on a new sort of life that I'm quite the fan of. Seems like the kind of thing I'd like to continue exploring in the future, simply for sake of being tickled by the subtle application of design logic to still images. Takes me back to my early web design days.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sticky Reminder for a Good Idea

I'm writing this out as a sort of personal reminder of an awesome idea that I really don't want to lose sight of in the next couple months.

Every year for the last 3 years I've worked the photo studio and/or video for the Fur the More convention in the DMV. It's always a blast, barring my bias as a lover of the furry fandom in general (as a friend this weekend phrased it, I "orbit" the furry-verse). The last couple years my setup for the photo suite has been super simple, a plain white backdrop with a pair of YN-560s fired into it (to clip it out to full white), and a combo of YN-560s fired either into umbrellas or softboxes to expose the subject. It works out great, and is arguably the "easy" way to do it, but I want to do something special this year because... well, reasons? I dunno, why the hell not?

I tend to run the photo suite like a party room, so the first little thing would be to pick up a nice speaker with built-in party light (I've seen a few). The lights in the suite would be dim to allow the patterns projected by the party light to catch attention (if a litany of chiptunes and speedcore don't achieve that alone). The point of the fun multicolored light show is to set the scene for what the shots from the studio would be like. A black 10' x 20' muslin would be sufficient for the backdrop, all I'd need is a one-stop focus of the subject. I'd keep the lens stopped down hard to f/8 or maybe even f/11, something to ensure the dimness of the backdrop in case the ambient light tries to illuminate it. I'd trigger the shutter on bulb with my phone so as to have control over the exposure time for the next step. Using a Pixel Stick (those nifty programmable light wands that first spiked in popularity a year or two back) run behind the subject and draw some fun color patterns, maybe even do a couple programmable pictures for funzies. Once done with the background light play, the last step would be to trigger a couple YN-560s acting as subject main and key lights, probably a naked flash firing down behind the subject for rim lighting and a softbox to the front and slightly to the side of the subject for contrasty main lighting. The end result should be a solid freeze frame of the subject with some wild light jazz going on in an otherwise black background.

I'm not sure how the concept would fare in actual practice, the party atmosphere of my studio suites historically has typically lead to a machine gun beat of poses and fun frames. But I want to try something more considered and deliberate this year, and definitely something that stands out from the typical marbled muslin backdrops I frequently see deployed for other furry convention photo studios. It's an expensive venture by comparison, and a bit more time consuming, but I think it would work out well. Assuming I'll have access to a printer this year, I'd love to print these frames out and offer them as gifts to those who donate to the charity fund. With such unique art pieces, it should be pretty awesome, and I'm hella excited to try it out!

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Years Furry Ball

It's been an annual event for me this past few years, and always a great way to ring in the new year, especially in what are otherwise such tumultuous times. A little escapism to start off another spin about the big orange scare ball of our solar system.

Thanks for the memories, guys. It is my resolution this year to get back in touch with that sort of creative freedom and the liberty of naivety I so adore in all of you. This fandom is my roots, and I'd like to think I haven't lost my way in its own unique sort of Tao.