Back to basics

I should be adding to the novel, but…a blog post is about all I can manage at the moment. I took advantage of a perfect day here in Fallbrook. 74 degrees F, sunny, just enough breeze to feel good. I moved my afternoon office down to the patio of the new winery just a mile away from the house, and after a glass of wine and some photography, getting my head around the next scene on the Moon isn’t working. Pictures of my lakefront winery office to be posted later.

January Day on Gird Road

This is the silver lining in not going to South America this month. January in Socal can be the best weather of the year. Days like today just don’t happen elsewhere in the US. It’s 25 degrees and snowing in KY – nice in its own way, but not outdoor wine drinking weather.

I spent a great lunch with my semi-pro photographer friend (he’s actually a pro and a good one, but he makes his living via other means), and we talked through high-end audio, photography, politics, etc. It was great. He confirmed some of the things I thought I was doing wrong with the new camera, and I’m anxious to try what I learned. Getting back to some basics – shoot manual, shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG, stay in the sweet spot of shutter speeds, ISO and aperture – and learn to do that without thinking. I know I used to do that with my ancient Nikon EM, my first real camera back in 1979. But over the years I’ve forgotten those basics. All the crazy software capabilities of modern cameras are cool, but they get in the way of a focus on composition. That’s what Robert confirmed for me. When I’m worried about 77 arcane software settings and what needs to be tweaked, I’m not thinking about the shot and its subject. So throw all that shit away and get back to basics.

Hunkered down with hobbies

In a different world, without COVID/Omicron, we would be on a flight from LAX to Buenos Aires today, being pampered in business class. But we live in this world, rapidly shutting down as we wearily weather another pandemic variant. So no South America for now.

As for plan B, which was to travel to see the grandkids after cancelling the international trip, also no bueno. My contacts in KY advise me that it’s not smart to drop in there anytime soon, as they have a massive Omicron surge. Very high local positivity rate, in the 20% range. Hospitals full, but infected patients not generally dying like they did in previous waves. So I think we’re hunkered down in Socal for the month. Not the way I hoped to start 2022.

On the positive side, writing is going well. Once I set aside the frustration at throwing away most of the 75,000 words I had written in first-second-third 2020-2021 drafts, I’m happy recreating the book in a new structure. I’m actually writing faster and with more purpose this time. On this pace and process I could see myself finishing two books per year, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Finish this one.

Also, I meet with a local semi-pro photographer today to learn a few things. I’m not happy with the pictures I’m getting from the new gear. For example, here’s one where the hummingbird colors should pop, but they’re subdued. Is it the lighting, or the camera sensor settings? Or does the colorful feeder somehow bias the sensor’s color pickup and make the bird’s colors less vivid?

I’m thinking the lighting, as the sun was bright and coming in from the top left. The front of the hummer was essentially in shadow.

I’m also having some focus issues. Lots to talk to the guru about.