500

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I can’t really believe it; I have reach my 500th post on this blog. Who could have known when I started it all with my first post published in September 2009 that I would be able to keep going for so long? Back then, I was only trying it out more or less for fun.

Now, more than seven years later, it’s still for fun, but at the same time much more serious. This time around, I have quite a huge amount of followers and readers who make my blog more than just my place to ramble along with whatever comes to mind. You are all helping in making this into an arena for inspiring discussions about the many facets of creativity.

Without you, this blog wouldn’t have been what it is today. That along with the shear numbers of followers is committing. It’s like an implicit promise with all of you, definitely raises the stakes for me. As I said, I can’t stray off in just any direction or write just anything that comes to my mind.

What more appropriate, then, when this little anniversary came up, that I have already announced changes and new ideas for the blog. I have to admit I didn’t think about the concurrence when I first started pondering about further developing my blog. It just happened to be so. I am still in the process of developing my various ideas, but slowly throughout the year, you will start to notice the differences. Part of being creative is not standing still, no? Like the American author and politician Bruce Barton said: «When you are through changing, you are through.»

In the mean time, I would like to give something back to my readers. Over the years, I have taught the online workshop «Finding Your Photographic Voice». Later this year I will start up another round, but since this is an anniversary post I already now want to give one of you, my readers, a change to attend it for free. Just send me an email, stating your name and why you would like to attend the online workshop. By the end of the month I will draw one winner who will get to participate for free. The value of the workshop is 320 US dollars. The workshop will kick off from May 22nd and continue over the next eight weeks. For more information about the workshop, look up the website of Blue Hour Photo Workshop for last years announcement of «Finding Your Photographic Voice».

Talking about workshops, just before the online workshop kicks off, I will teach another photo workshop in Cuba. I will get back with more information about it a little later, but already now it’s more than half full with signed up participants. So if you have any interest, don’t think to long. Take a look at the information about the workshop «Cuba in Essence» on Blue Hour Photo Workshops.

To end this little anniversary post, I want to thank all of you for contributing to making this blog what it is. Hopefully I will see you around for the next 500 posts…

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Canon EOS-1D Mark II and a 16-35 mm lens set at 21 mm. Shutter speed: 1/125 of a second. Aperture: f/16. The photo was processed in Photoshop and Nik Color Efex with the filter Bleach Bypass.

Posted in Creativity, Photo Workshop, Photography | Tagged , | 78 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

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Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week (this photo is actually more than a week old, but I haven’t posted any new material the last week). It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-100 with the lens set at 10.9 mm (the equivalent of a 24 mm for a full frame camera). Shutter speed: 1/60 of a second. Aperture: f/1.7. The photo was transferred to my cell phone and then processed with the Photoshop Express app.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged | 52 Comments

Into the New

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We are about a week into a new year—well, that is for those of us who live by the Gregorian calendar at least. Usually entering into a new year is a time when a lot of us make up status for ourselves and formulate new goals for the year to come. However, New Year’s resolutions are easy to put down on paper, but much harder to follow up and actually put into life. As such, every new year is but a trail of broken resolutions left behind.

Nevertheless, personally I think it’s important to make up status for ourselves and make some goals for what we want to achieve over the next year. Having learned by repeated experiences how hard it can be to follow various New Year’s resolutions, I believe in positive goals.

Making yourself exercise more when you hate to exercise or eat healthier when you would rather not have salads at all or don’t want to abandon sugar, is going to be hard to follow up. In order to make it happen it’s important to find ways around the goals so that they come out as something positive, as something you would actually love to do, rather than forcing yourself through a regime you only hate, anyway. The latter approach will only last so long before you abandon it.

As for myself, I exercise quite a bit and eat quite healthy so that’s not a problem for me. Luckily, I could add. One of the problems I am facing—as I wrote about in a post last year—is a media business, which has faced and is still facing big structural challenges. As a photographer working for various magazines and publications, I feel this very much, with fewer assignments and less work. This disruption—as economists talk about—is by far new, but really hit me for the first time at the end of last year.

My usual solution would be to work harder, put more energy into fighting the tides, because I am sure this is only tide, too, albeit a whopping one. However, this year I have decided to go down a different path. Instead of fighting against the tide, I will rather let go of the reins. I am going to do things I want to do rather than things I think I need to do to keep my business running. I want to explore various creative paths, let myself have fun and find ways to my most creative self. Maybe in the end it will also result in a more stable business for me, but, of course, it’s not given. However, I don’t want to waste my life—or at least this year—doing tasks that I feel is not worth spending time on. At the same time, I see that I am fortunate in that I have sufficient funds and savings to be able not to worry about a loss of income, for a period at least.

One of the goals for this year is putting more effort into writing books about creativity and photography. This is not a new thought, but after the encouragement a lot of you, my readers, gave me last year, I have decided it’s really time to do more than think about it. Thus, I want to thank you for pushing me in this direction.

Talking about the blog, over the next couple of months I will restructure this blog, and launch new ideas and thoughts for it, which I hope will make it more interesting to read and enjoy. Over the holidays, I have had a couple of weeks off from blogging and it’s been good. There is always some pressure in keeping a blog alive, and taking time off, have brought back the inspiration and lust to develop it in new directions and adding new substance to it. I hope it’s going to reflect my new approach to let myself be more creative.

As an extension of what I write here, I want to thank you all for the patience during the time I have been away from cyber space. It’s time to get going again, and I hope we can have a fun year together exchanging thoughts and ideas. I wish you all the best for the new year.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-100, the lens set at 10.9 mm which is the equivalent of a full frame 24 mm. Shutter speed: 1/250 of a second. Aperture: f/13. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Posted in Creativity | Tagged , | 104 Comments

Happy Holidays

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This will be my last post of this year. I want to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has followed my blog and showed it be either liking my posts or contributed to the many fulfilling discussions here. I also want to thank you for the support you have shown me and all the kind remarks throughout the year.

As some of us are about to celebrate the holiday which is about to begin—myself included—it’s time for me to wish you all peace and harmony whether you are going to celebrate or not. 2016 has once again been a year of much violence and unrest, but also of much inspiration and positive development. We can only hope that times eventually will change to the better for all humankind.

I will take a rest from blogging during the Christmas Holiday. But I will be back in the new year. Until then; I wish you all happy holidays and/or happy new year.

Posted in Various | Tagged | 120 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

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Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-100 with the lens set at 34 mm (the equivalent of a 75 mm for a full frame camera). Shutter speed: 1/100 of a second. Aperture: f/16. The photo was transferred to my cell phone and then processed with a Karen filter in the Pixlr-o-matic app and then with a Drama filter in Snapseed.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged | 69 Comments

Riding the Waves

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The road to success isn’t paved with gold—or, navigating only through calm waters, to use the analogue I like to think of when talking about creativity; the interaction between man and sea. The path to success is navigating through foul weather, risky straits and choppy waves as well.

Not long ago, my partner and I planned to kayak along the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington, USA. As often is the case along that coastline, the weather was windy and cold, and the waves were rolling big onto the beaches. Not conditions for launching any kayak trips.

We had a good time anyway, enjoying the strength of the gale in our hair and feeling very alive when the wind gusts battered down on us. Not kayaking but hiking along the shoreline. Still, we had brought kayaks and at some point, we decided we could use the heavy waves to practise paddling under less than perfect conditions, safely and close to the beach.

With wet suits, life jackets and all the necessary safety equipment we felt safe indeed, as long as we didn’t go far out. Of course, the waves are also the worst exactly where they break onto the beach. For that very reason, it would be good practise.

It took some juggling to get the kayaks launched, but as soon as we were out, it felt pretty good. We paddled through a couple of waves and felt in control. Then we turned in an attempt to surf back in again. That’s when we lost control, both of us. The first wave took us around.

As we had foreseen, we would keep warm with the wet suit and stay afloat with the life jackets. However, what I hadn’t foreseen was that we had already kayaked too far from the beach. I could not reach the bottom. Moreover, there was no way neither of us could get back up in the kayaks. Thus, I started to swim back in with the kayak in one hand.

I quickly realized that this was much heavier than I had anticipated. After some time I wasn’t sure at all if I got closer to the beach. Instead I started wondering if there was a tide taking my out rather than in. I did not feel very comfortable any more, not the least because I could feel my stamina started to dwindle too quickly. In addition, my partner and I had drifted apart. At least she was much closer to the beach. Of course, I could let go of the kayak, but that wasn’t an option, not yet. That uncertainty, though, about which direction I was going, was anything but calming.

To make a long story short, I finally made it onto the beach, with my kayak and everything. We both did. By then I was completely exhausted, had to rest in the breaking waves before I could pull myself and my kayak onto dry land.

It was a valuable lesson. I learned where my limit is and I learned that I have to practise much more navigating foul weathers. Of course, I would never launch a real kayak trip under such conditions, but you never know if or when the weather suddenly changes faster than you have anticipated.

The mistakes we do underway are what build strength for later successes.

The path to success usually goes through choppy waters, for then to experience some calm and beautiful sea—for a little while. The path to success starts out with interest, passion and ideas. Next come the hard work and the fight to get closer to where we want to be. Then some mild success, and next some failures as well. And eventually—and hopefully—we will hit the big wave taking us far and away.

Creating your life’s best work and living the life you imagined requires having a deep drive to reach the top, but also a strategy for making it back home. It isn’t very creative to sail the biggest waves only to crush onto your doom. True creativity requires a more holistic view that includes both the up and the down.

Personally, I have had my share of success—in my eyes, that is, which is what is important in the end—but these days I am once again fighting my way out of a trough, as those of you who follow my blog know. It’s part of the creative path, and I know as long as I keep swimming and learning how to navigate back onto shore again, I will soon enough be riding confidently the big waves.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Canon Eos 5D with a 24-104 mm lens and the zoom set at 105 mm. Shutter speed: 1/500 of a second. Aperture: f/22. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop and finally a Bleach Bypass filter added from Nik Color Efex.

Posted in Creativity, Photography | Tagged , , | 86 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

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Since my last post where I talked about the problems I—and the whole media business as such—is facing, I have received so much encouraging and positive feedback, I want to thank you all for such a wonderful response. I have used the week since to get started working on my new projects and feel good about it. However, it’s always a little scary to throw yourself into deep water. Either you learn to swim or you sick. I plan to do the former, but I guess this week’s Instagram is telling for my situation or my feeling.

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments (well I guess I gave some comments this week), hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with my cell phone processed in the app Snapseed.

Posted in Personal Work, Photojournalism | Tagged , | 38 Comments