Inspired by a recent post on another blog, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the things I have been enjoying in my life over the last few months ( and some for much longer) in hope that it might inspire you in some way or another in your creative endeavors. While this is somewhat off topic of what I normally talk about, mainly the art and craft of landscape photography, it was fun to put together, especially as we come to the end of another great year and think about what waits for us in 2012.
I’ve written here before about physical conditioning and how it can improve your nature photography. Exercise goes hand in hand with nutrition however, and since June 1 of this year, I have been eating a mostly 95% vegan diet. I say 95% because while I have been a vegetarian for 10 years or so, I still sneak in some animal foods such as cheese and turkey on Thanksgiving. This is not an absolute issue for me, but more of a general guideline about what I eat and don’t eat. But since committing to the vegan diet, which basically means no animal products of any kind, I have definitely noticed some major improvements in how I feel and perform on and off the trail. I have more energy, sleep less and can get up earlier without feeling groggy, and just feel healthier overall than I ever have. It can be a challenge, especially when eating out, but there are plenty of resources online to find good delicious food and get plenty of protein.
When I committed to a vegan diet, I decided to try having regular green smoothies that would pack a nutritional punch and make eating fruits and veggies much more appealing and palatable. I quickly discovered our run of the mill blender would not be up to the task, so I invested in a Vitamix blender. While not inexpensive, it has been well worth the money. It easily turns whole fruits and veggies into smooth and creamy smoothies that are also delicious. Most days of the week I’ll have the following smoothie for breakfast, then may follow it with another recipe for lunch. I would probably never sit down to eat this on a plate, but as a smoothie I look forward to it every morning.
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 whole carrot
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 slice yellow pepper
- 1/2 apple
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 broccoli floret
- 2 teaspoons hemp protein
- 1 cup ice
As many of you know I am a very avid reader, so any device that allows me to read more is definitely valuable to me. While I do have an iPad, I prefer the size and dedicated nature of the Kindle Fire when I just want to read, and not get distracted by other apps, the web, email, games, etc. It is easier to hold and carry, and it integrates seamlessly with all of Amazon’s services, ie. books, music, videos, etc. As an instructor, I am always reading photo related books to stay on top of new technology, as well as learning more about classic concepts that never age. For $199, it is a small price to pay for what I get out of it.
I picked this camera up primarily for its video features, and it has not disappointed. I am in the middle of filming several projects (more info soon), and the video quality is fantastic for capturing high detailed scenes such as landscapes and nature in general.
There is also a hack available (which I have installed) , that increases the bit rate from 24mps to upwards of 88mps, and transforms this camera into a serious tool rivaling cameras costing thousands more.
5-Final Cut Pro X
There has been ongoing debate in the world of video editing about Final Cut Pro X and whether Apple abandoned their existing user base by completely rewriting this application. Leaving that aside, in my opinion this is the best version of Final Cut Pro Apple has ever produced. My favorite features include: easy importing of digital files in several formats, the magnetic timeline, advanced keywording and metadata for managing video footage, and easy sharing to several web services and devices, ie iPad, AppleTV, Youtube, Vimeo, and Blu Ray.
Sure it creates several problems for those with a huge dependency on projects done in FCP 7, but this is the future of video editing for sure. Otherwise, this is a must have application for anyone serious abouy video editing, whether with traditional video cameras, or the latest crop of HDSLR’s. I’ll be offering a course in FCP X in the near future, stay tuned…
6-Landscape Photography Magazine
I discovered this beautifully produced online magazine several months ago, and it is a refreshing and well produced look at landscape photography today. Short on ads and other advertising, it is packed with great photos, photographer portfolios, and in depth articles on everything from processing, camera technique, locations, and overall inspiration. Plus it looks great on the iPad. The first six issues were free, but now they are charging a very moderate subscription fee of $9.50/yr. I highly recommend it!
Each time I practice yoga I learn something new about my body and mind. From increased strength, flexibility, and balance, to better concentration, mindfulness, and patience, these are all things I can apply directly to my work behind the camera. And the most incredible thing is it doesn’t really take that much effort. I started with 20 mins a day over 3 years ago, and now I am up to 45min 5 days a week. The important thing is consistency, regardless of how little you do each day. It is cumulative, just like practice is whether working in Lightroom, or with a favorite lens. The more you invest regularly, the more you get out of it.
Bonus: 8-Teaching Workshops
I love to teach, and mostly because of the satisfaction I get from giving to others something that is truly worthwhile to them. Inspiring someone to see something differently, make a new image, experience a special moment in a way that they might not have noticed before. These are the reasons that keep me motivated to share what I have learned in my own journey as a nature photographer. Giving of yourself is one of the greatest gifts imaginable, and it is the basis of how I approach teaching and life in general. While I did not discover this til later in life, I am grateful nonetheless, and proves it is never too late for anything in life.
As always, thanks for reading, and I’d love to get your feedback or questions about anything I’ve mentioned above. What are you enjoying that is making a difference in your life or your photography?