tales from urban dilettantia

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Bubbling Creativity

You might well put it down to me trying to do something to keep the mind off drug withdrawal (and you’d be right) but I’ve undoubtedly been in a flurry of creativity recently.  Given how abysmal my so-called-left-brain performance has been recently, it’s rather nice to have something filling in the gaps.  I’m full of things I want to write about – giving things away at the Really Really Free Market, foraging for street fruit, making grappa & loquat butter, leaving Facebook and experimenting with giving up eating (to broadly but inaccurately summarise) farmed meat among them – but for now, the visual.

Last night I posted some new random sketches to Flickr as well as to my Redbubble and Zazzle shops.  It’s very motivating, having tiny shops, and making tiny sketches into t-shirts and mugs!

The Kitty Pile is available as a stupidly expensive tie, because if one ever sells I’ll laugh my arse off.  Metaphorically speaking.

I’ve also promised Rashas to attempt to find an affordable way to make The Map of WIN into a quilt cover, which may or may not involve me sewing.

When I was feeling spendthrifty – that is, after a few drinks on my birthday – I picked up a (relatively) cheap Nikon D5000 camera body which is destined to become an off-hand body (and possibly lighter body for birding) when I inherit velvetbutter‘s old D300.  It’s no good for my prime lenses (which have expanded to include a 35mm, a 50mm and an 85mm ) because it won’t autofocus them, but it’s a lovely lightweight body for my beloved 70-300mm birding lens, annihilating my old D70 when it comes to noise, metering, focus and indeed just about everything.  (Incidentally, the D70 body will shortly become a dedicated IR camera, because unlike the newer cameras it actually allows enough light at the IR end of the spectrum through.)

Ahem. Enough geeking it up; there are a lot of new photos on my Flickr from the last few weeks:

And finally, I learned to solder and made a light dalek from a cup and some fairy light bulbs I found at Target. When I press the button, it creates a diffuse soft glow which will in theory provide a gentle, non-directional light sources for the times when I’m photographing people in the dark at parties.   It may or may not be pretty crap at this – I’m yet to have an opportunity to try it out – but it sure was fun to make!

Hurrah for Link Spammage

As boxer_the_horse says,’sometimes the internet is great!’ So, in lieu of me actually managing to finish writing a post of my own, let’s have a look at some random internet squishiness.

To begin with, I’m obsessed with the Michael Buble Being Stalked By A Velociraptor blog at the moment.  Gosh it’s great; that raptor lurking in the crowd or behind the curtains cracks me up.  I just keep randomly going to the site and giggling about it, even when there aren’t any new ones up.

BBC Wildlife is offering a series of free PDFs in the Photo Masterclasses series.    Covering a wide variety of topics from birds in flight to photographing wildlife at dusk and dawn, they’re well worth a look.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across the concept of Demand Resistance which describes me so very well, and links in with procrastination, perfectionism and anxiety.  I promised to send information on this to a number of people, so here’s a link and here’s another with some good information in the comments.

I have a feeling I may have linked Visual Complexity before, but it’s still beautiful and there’s always something new to see. In fact, one of the things I discovered there this morning was a link to Sourcemap:open supply chains, a tool for researching and sharing where things come from.

Here’s a tribute to New Zealand-born photojournalist Margaret Moth who died earlier this month, and to her fascinating and adventurous life.

And finally, photographers, travellers, architecture enthusiasts and UrbExers, check out this Russian LiveJournaller who has taken a set photos of abandoned churches.

Yes, sometimes the internet is great!

Self-Portrait in IR

I was just sorting a few files out in Aperture and came across this photo I took out on the deck in Margaret River when I was staying with velvetbutter in December.  It’s taken with my 70mm-300mm lens and a cheap infra-red filter I picked up for a few dollars from Deal Extreme.  IR photography is great fun – there shall be more!

Swooping & Diving

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

This year, none of my half-drafted text posts have yet come to anything, but I’ll have you know that they’re sitting there in the dusty attic of a hard drive, waiting to be unleashed.

In the meantime, I’ve posted some more birdwatching photos to Flickr, including the Welcome Swallows pictured above.  Wings are exciting; I’m having fun times (and sometimes frustrating times) learning to photograph wings.

My excuse for not having written anything of substance – one of my excuses, anyway – is that I’m buried not only under unpleasant work (Large Accounting Firm has jumped the shark, it really has) but under an avalanche of side projects.

Some of the side projects include doing a triathlon, getting my diving certification, building a barrel garden, harvesting the local laneway/vergeside fruit, looking for a new job, soaking up as much of the summer cricket as possible, and two secret things.  One secret thing is is about tentacles, the other is about maps.

Somehow I think spending time at the beach needs to be on the projects list, but isn’t. It strikes me that this is a terrible oversight.

Links, Many Links!

It appears to be Random Links-I-Like Round-up Wednesday here at The Flying Blogspot, as I have some random linkage for you. Also, it happens that today is a Wednesday.  (Happy Hump Day, hipikat!)

The Voynich Manuscript – I love this mystery and all the theories that have grown up around it.

Light-bulb terrariums – these are so very pretty, and I do have some old incandescents sitting around the the craft room.  Something else for my infinitely expandable maybe-someday list?

The Ultimate Guide to the Minimalist Workweek – a nice reminder for the start of a new work year; while not all of these suggestions can be applied in every workplace, many of them are broadly applicable.

The word ‘snowclones’- although the word was coined in 2004, I only discovered it recently; there’s also a nice list of common snowclones and their sources here.

‘Looking Into The Past’ Flickr gallery – check out the way these images mash up time, narrative and geography; they make me simultaneously want to research and to photograph more.

Facebook Event to Google Calendar button Greasemonkey script – this is a nice, time-saving little script; I found I had to write an extra <br> into the code to get it to position the button correctly.

Infochimps – masses and masses of beautiful public datasets; I’ll post more on the beauty of datamining shortly.

foursquare (and on Wikipedia here) – I bypassed foursquare originally, as it was restricted to specific cities and because I wasn’t seeing the functionality. However the offers similar basic geolocation functionality to BrightKite and (in some respects) Google Latitude but combines this with a focus on discovering the urban landscape and populating the map with useful information about your area.