Seasons…

We’re now in what feels (occasionally) like Spring. There’s life in the trees again; the birds are singing; my eyes are streaming from the tree pollen and there’s certainly a bit of warmth to that sun now. So, where are we?

Well, the 365 project is still on, helped in no small part by the return of “easy mode”. Easy mode is where it doesn’t get dark until after I’ve finished work. Sure, I’m still walking the same loop near enough, but at least I can see where I’m going.

The highlights

Rather than bore you with the run-of-the-mill account of each month, I’ll provide you with the edited highlights of the first four months instead.

I’ve had a few keepers since the beginning of January, but I’ve yet to put them up on the store. I’ll hopefully get to that over the next couple of days. Still, if you fancy a shower curtain or a phone case, you know where to look. (shameless plug…)

One complication of doing two 365 projects back-to-back, during a time when I rarely leave the village is that everything feels really familiar. I did expect this, but boy have I painted myself into a corner.

Music

At the end of last year I might have suggested that I’d like to get back into music again. I assumed it might be playing it and that I might have acquired another guitar. It’s April and I’m still not strumming away again, but a Youtube rabbit-hole or two has led me into the (shock, horror) murky world of HiFi.

No, I didn’t expect that either. I’d have been the first to call snake-oil on the idea that one USB cable might sound different to another, but here we are. Truth be told, I still think most of that is as daft as the wine-tasting world’s flowery language to describe grape juice locked in a dusty cellar for months.

However, I’ve found a few very entertaining and somewhat relaxing channels that talk about the subject of HiFi components and headphones that are as far removed from current affairs, pandemics and war as you can get.

The upshot is, I now have a USB DAC, a pair of open-back headphones and a Tidal subscription. I’m not sure how to feel about it. 🤣

I’d been using iTunes for many years, which eventually morphed into Apple Music. It mostly met my needs, but over the years my account had become so full of clutter –albums I started listening to but lost interest in, with no easy way to just delete everything and start again. The other problem with Apple Music is that it doesn’t play well with others. To get the best out of it you need to just use Apple products, but I occasionally use Windows, Plex and I generally like to keep my options open. Tidal works with most streaming boxes, integrates well with Plex and the Windows application isn’t quite as awful as iTunes is.

Most importantly, Tidal is effectively a clean slate. Something I can fill with the music I actually like right now.

So, what’s playing?

The first few months of this year have been quite good on the music front. I’ve acquired a few more CDs –albeit mostly ones I used to have and had sold a few years ago.

There were some new ones though. Tears for Fears released their excellent new album “The Tipping Point”. If you are so inclined, have a listen to Rivers of Mercy at track 8.

One big surprise came from another Flickr user who put me onto the Oh Hellos. This is an indie folk band from Texas, formed by siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath. They released four EPs between 2017 and 2020 –Eurus, Zephyrus, Notos and Boreas and they’re excellent. That has probably had the most play since January.

Other news

So, I talked briefly before about removing myself from social media again. Whilst I still have my accounts, Facebook is deactivated and Twitter is uninstalled. It feels good not being on them at the moment and I recommend it to anyone.

Yes, they can be good, but the detritus has a habit of rising to the top. If you have a hobby or interest, you’ll soon find the less desirable part of it all up in your feed without you really needing to go looking for it.

I think that’s all I have for now. Until next time…

001/365 - Once more, with feeling

Around we go again…

After spending all of last year taking a photo every day, for some reason I decided to go around again.

This could be another year where I rarely leave the village, or do anything remotely interesting. So what on Earth possessed me to carry on with it?

Consistency

Truth be told, forcing myself out of work/care mode and doing something creative and entirely for me was something I really benefitted from in 2021. There was also a slight dopamine hit from producing a photograph that I enjoyed looking at afterwards.

Yes, it’s a bit of work; yes, there will be days where I really can’t be bothered, but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

Unlike last year, which turned out to be a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare with all the processes I had behind the scenes to manage everything, this year I’m keeping it simple.

I’m going to use one big set on Flickr to store all of the final images; plus I’m going to dispense with the monthly updates, unless I have anything novel to share.

There’s only one rule this year –everything is going to be square. I loved square format photos before Instagram appeared, but never managed to buy a Hasselblad 500CM when they were still affordable. The difference this year is that I will use whatever camera I have to hand –in the hope that I find some time to ride my bike again. Seems fair?

Here’s the set.

001/365 - Once more, with feeling

By some luck, I’ve had one photo picked up by Flickr’s “Explore” page already –the one from 9th January. For the uninitiated, Explore is where Flickr’s “magic donkey” algorithm picks up images it finds interesting. By interesting that is usually just lots of ‘activity’ –likes and comments mostly.

The result has been over 5,000 views, 110 people added it as a favourite since I posted it on the 9th January (it’s the 13th as I type this). This beats my second most ‘interesting’ photo by around 4,000 views and 75 favourites…in a couple of days. It’s quite a surreal experience to have that much attention on one photo, but it’s quite fun when it happens.

Explore is a great lesson in how unpredictable the internet is. The photo I posted on the 9th was not one of my personal favourites, I’d argue that there are others in my collection more deserving of the attention, but yet the algorithm seemed to like it and promoted it for a day or so.

There’s little point shooting to please others, because you can never really know what others will want –or when they will want it. Yes, you can adhere to the various compositional rules that exist in photography, but that will only get you so far. You have to shoot for yourself, for your own reasons. Maybe you’ll find an audience, maybe you won’t, but that’s not entirely within your control. You might as well enjoy the ride.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. Until next time…