I bought the new iPad Pro so you don't have to!

A Brief Pre-Ramble:

I’m no stranger to the iPad. In fact it once caused me not to get a job at an Apple store shortly after college. I was asked in an interview, “What do you think of the new iPad,” and I answered honestly (mistake number one in a job interview I would learn):

“I’m not sure how I feel about it, it doesn’t really do what I would want it to do.”

I didn’t get a call back for a second interview. Little did I know this would be the start of my rocky relationships with tablets.

In 2012 I bought refurbished a 32GB “New iPad.” With its retina screen I told myself it would be the perfect portfolio alternative, and I could make myself look so cool by bringing a digital device to a client meeting, instead of a printed book.

“Who prints photos anymore? Clients will see me as cutting edge!”

That device currently is sitting on the floor next to my bed, unable to be updated past iOS 9, with a dead battery. I rarely use it anymore because of how slow it has become. And it certainly didn’t win me any clients. I think I may have used it professionally once or twice to have someone digitally sign a contract or a model release.

When the first iPad Pro was released I found myself holding it and thinking, “Well…it sure is big,” before using the newly launched apple pencil to crudely draw a penis on it and handing it back to my friend. I still didn’t see a good use for what was essentially a laptop without a keyboard.

Flash forward to 2017, where I found myself standing at the counter at my local Apple store looking at the three size options in front of me for “Pro” level iPads. I was sold (or so I told myself). I just needed to know what size fit me best. After a few hours of going back and forth with the demo models, I eventually decided to walk away. It just didn’t hold up to the experience I was getting from my laptop.


When the 2018 Apple announcement of the NEW IPAD PRO came through, I once again found myself enamored with the idea of getting a laptop replacement. I studied the keynote, watched every review video, and made an appointment with myself to visit the apple store as soon as possible to play with one myself.

The idea that now this tablet was “more powerful than most PC laptops” and (would be) capable of running a “full” version of Photoshop really intrigued me.


The Tech Specs:

To be fair, a lot of this section is pulled directly from Apple’s sales literature on the new iPad, and I will try my best to keep things brief here. This isn’t anything you can’t find for yourself with a quick Google search.

  • Liquid Retina display

  • 11 or 12.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology

  • 2732-by-2048-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)

  • ProMotion technology

  • Wide color display (P3)

  • True Tone display

  • A12X Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

  • Neural Engine

  • Embedded M12 coprocessor

  • USB-C

  • 10 hour battery life

  • New Apple Pencil with magnetic charging

 I sent this photo to several people who knew how much I was dreading this purchase.

I sent this photo to several people who knew how much I was dreading this purchase.

After another agonizing hour going back and forth with price and specs, I decided to pull the trigger on the 12.9” model with 256GB of storage, with the new Apple Pencil. $1,380.24 retail after estimated Atlanta taxes.

To be fair, I had a friend hook me up with an Apple friends and family discount, which brought my price down to a little under $1200 after tax. Even with the discount, this is a pretty large chunk of change to throw down on something that I didn’t even know if it would fit into my workflow properly.

Once the device was delivered to me an hour later, I rushed home and completed the setup process and began playing with my new toy. I was determined to make it work for me.


Pros:

  • Just about everything with the design of the device:

The 12.9” screen is gorgeous, and combined with the True Tone Technology and night shift I found it very easy to use in a variety of lighting conditions. Never did it blow out my eyes when used in the dark.

The new Apple Pencil is very responsive and feels great in hand. The new magnetic charging system makes it a great way to store and charge.

Battery life is pretty good. Apple rates it at 10 hours, and with moderate usage I was able to only drop down to around 50% before it was time for bed.

The refresh rate still makes me very happy. It feels snappy when I swipe between pages on the home screen, or between pages in a book or magazine. I am impressed at how smooth everything is.

All of this packed into a device that is a great size that fits comfortably in my hands.

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And I’ll be the first person to say I have tiny girly hands.

  • iOS 12:

For the most part, I am very happy with the latest version of iOS. When used on the iPad Pro it does a great job at coming VERY close to a desktop class OS. For the average user who is looking for a laptop replacement or substitute, it makes for a pretty good argument against competing products.

  • USB-C (Kinda):

Apple choosing to move to a standardized charging/syncing solution is super smart. No more proprietary cables (for the most part), and if you are ok with dongles of varying sorts you can basically connect this device to just about anything (even if that connection can’t exactly do anything…more on this later). Even though I didn’t get a chance to try it, the ability to mirror to a 5K display was an impressive demo.


Cons:

  • Price:

Lets talk about the elephant in the room straight away. This thing is not cheap. And for a similar pricing point you are already into 13” Macbook territory. This makes the decision much harder when comparing side by side. Yes, technically you get more storage with the iPad, and that new processor supposedly is nothing to laugh at. But what you lose is RAM, and a FULL operating system (And at least for me, Capture One).

  • USB-C

For all the great things that the iPad pro can do with its new port, there is one HUGE thing that it can’t do. At the time of this writing the USB-C port cannot be used to interface directly with an external hard drive. This is a huge bummer because in order to be competitive with a traditional laptop, I can’t really get around needing expandable storage.

But, you say, “The cloud! Can’t you use the cloud?” And my response to this is a decided “Yes and No.”

I downloaded the WD MyCloud app onto the iPad. It’s the same app that I use to manage my personal cloud from the go on my phone. And while I was able to eventually download a file into the iPad for editing, it was far from an elegant experience.

 Wait…where are my thumbnails?

Wait…where are my thumbnails?

While iOS 12 can support plenty of different RAW files, it can only read them while in the Photos app, unless specifically coded into each individual app. Even in the Files app you can’t see any thumbnails by default.

 I sure do hope I remember that SPECIFIC file name for the file I want to edit.

I sure do hope I remember that SPECIFIC file name for the file I want to edit.

Now, once you download the file to your device, you can see a thumbnail just fine.

 Too bad I’d have to import all of these into my camera roll first before I can see them.

Too bad I’d have to import all of these into my camera roll first before I can see them.

Now I suppose this could be solved by a product like a Gnarbox (Shameless plug, lets talk Gnarbox, send me one of those 2.0 units for me to play with please?), or the Lacie DJI Co-Pilot, since they have a computer of sorts built in for processing (RAW previews), and generally can interface with other apps nicely. But by that point you are spending ANOTHER $299-$499 on top of the storage you already spent which further makes the argument for a traditional laptop.

The one thing I didn’t try was Tethering.

 Photo shamelessly stolen from Apple’s support page.

Photo shamelessly stolen from Apple’s support page.

But unless I’m using the Lightroom app I don’t think this will work for me as intended as well. From what I have seen, connecting a camera basically just opens up the photos app and downloads files from the SD card on the camera. Not a direct tethered shooting solution that I am used to from Capture One.

I suppose you could also use the USB-C SD card reader, but then you are once again having to load every file directly onto the internal storage of the iPad itself. And then moving them back off for long term archiving brings up a whole other conversation.

I think that the lack of USB-C mass storage support is something that Apple could (and hopefully will) fix in an upcoming version of iOS. This two-way data movement and storage would change a LOT of my feelings about the iPad Pro as it stands today.

  • Lack of “Desktop Strength” photo editing solutions

This is one “con” where I think things are ALMOST there. A “full” version of Adobe Photoshop will be coming next year, but Lightroom CC already has a large user-base and supposedly does a pretty good job. I’m still not sold, I don’t like Adobe’s charge per month model. It’s just not for me. And all of it adds to the overall cost ($120 a year). There are some cheaper (and single purchase) options available however.

Affinity Photo has long been the Photoshop analogue that many photographers have fallen in love with. At the time of this writing, however, Affinity Photo hasn’t been updated in over a month, and likely hasn’t been optimized for these new processors yet. I fully believe that the next version of Affinity will work just fine and will be a very speedy piece of software.

But for me, I found it to be a touch clunky and certainly when I was doing some basic retouching there were several times I had to wait 15 seconds or so while the app crunched the data.

 For those who aren’t familiar with the Affinity Photo UI

For those who aren’t familiar with the Affinity Photo UI

Affinity isn’t a bad option at all, and I think that part of my problems with it were just in learning a new piece of software. And once I got rolling I feel that things went rather smoothly. With the exception that it took me over an hour to retouch the above file, and even then I’m not 100% happy with the results. But I’ll let you guys judge for yourselves.

Untitled.JPG
  • Backup and Archiving Workflow

My final gripe comes after you export the files out. By default most of the apps I have played with wanted to export everything back into the camera roll of the iPad itself. Which then of course leads to duplicate files and space being eaten up by final deliverables.

I found a way to move things manually back to my WD Cloud, but it wasn’t elegant and took some experimenting with to move everything over. Then I was still left with having to delete the file manually to free up space on the device itself.


Conclusion:

I like the 2018 iPad Pro, I really do. But I’m not IN LOVE with it.

Ok, I’m lying. I do love it. I think it’s designed well, I think the screen and pencil are both great, I think the audio on it is some of the best I have heard across any device. I like the idea of having iOS on a larger screen, that is still light enough to carry around one handed. I like all of the potential that comes from multitasking.

From an Apple fanboy perspective, I really do love this device.

 I even used the Squarespace blog app to type some of this post!

I even used the Squarespace blog app to type some of this post!

But from a photographer standpoint, it falls short. For me. My workflow just can’t accommodate the iPad Pro as it currently stands. But it’s so close!

With a few simple changes (USB-C Mass Storage, RAW Support in the Files app, and more Pro “Desktop Level” Apps from the likes of Adobe, Capture One, etc) all of which could potentially come at a software level without the need of additional hardware.

For day to day web surfing, email, notes, and other media consumption I love what has come from this latest generation of iPad. This makes me excited for what is to come with lower-spec devices that I would likely use more frequently.

I was at a meeting today and loved using the iPad to take notes on, and I loved being able to quickly surf the web and find info I needed. I really want to have this device in my life, but unfortunately…I’m probably going to return it.

I’m going to give it through the weekend to grow on me a little more, maybe do some more playing around to see if I can better fit things into my life. But at this moment right now, I just can’t justify paying $1200 for something that I can already do (arguably better) on my already paid for Macbook Pro. Thankfully Apple has a 14 day return period, because I would hate to have to try and re-sell this on the open market.

Maybe I’ll just wait a while and snatch up one of these one they hit the Refurbished section of the Apple store, or maybe grab one of last year’s models at a killer deal.

…Or there is always next year’s model…

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The Artist's Way - Week 8

Day 50:
I’m playing a long game of catch up right now. After being out of the office for a week, I am having to follow up hard on some things that fell into the cracks while I was away. On top of following up with the potential clients I met during the show.

I can feel the burn out starting. Or maybe it’s been hiding around a corner all along and I’m just now noticing it.

On somewhat of a plus side my new camera bag came today. Once I finish my readings and pre-work I will begin the process of packing it. I hope I feel better once it’s packed, because right now so much emptiness and potential is making me feel anxious.


Question: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?

Answer: The same age you will be if you don’t
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Week 8 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Early Patternings, An Exercise
Complete as many additional Exercises as possible.


So the text says that I can skip some of the prompts if they don’t exactly fit. So if you see an oddly numbered list, that is probably why.

Early Patternings, An Exercise:

  1. As a kid, my [step] dad thought my art was dangerous that made me feel inadequate

  2. I remember one time when he yelled at me for looking at figure drawing references because he considered them “pornographic”. (I’m sure he would shit bricks if he saw some of my work in past years).

  3. I feel very angry and cheated about that, I never forgot it

  4. The person I remember who believed in me was my Jr. High art teacher.

  5. I remember one time when she encouraged me to sit down with a guest speaker to talk about my love for drawing Anime characters.

  6. I felt encouraged and excited about that, I never forgot it

  7. The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was when that same guest speaker told me the “truth” about being an artist, and that many people were already doing it better than I was.

  8. The negative lesson I got from that which wasn’t logical but I still believe is that I can’t be a learning beginner and be an artist

  9. When I was little I learned that “nudity” and “pornography” were big sins that I particularly had to watch out for.

  10. I grew up thinking artists were unsuccessful people

  11. The mentor who gave me a good role model was Paul Gero. He saw in me what years of disappointment and crushed dreams had robbed from me.

  12. When people say I have talent I think they want to benefit from it some how.

  13. The thing is, I am suspicious that I really don’t believe that I really all that talented.

  14. I just can’t believe that the life I am living is the life I am meant to live.

  15. If I believe I am really talented, then I am mad as hell at everyone who doubted me and everyone who didn’t encourage me and myself for believing that being an artist can’t be a profitable career path.


Day 52:
It’s Halloween. My favorite day of the year. Except this year I am just not feeling it at all. Aside from a trip to the Halloween store a couple of weeks back I haven’t done anything “festive”. I’ve missed all of the parties and fun, and I still have 2 days of work left before I have a day off.

By the time I get a day off it will have been 2 weeks straight of work.

When my dad asked about how I was feeling, I told him. And he indirectly called me “soft”. Needless to say this didn’t make me feel any better.

I started the process of getting some shoots lined up. More for my friends and less for me. But any day I get to shoot something is a good day.

My car needs an oil change. I’ll need to get that taken care of on Saturday.

It’s been a day since the new iPad launch, and I still want one, badly. Even though I know at heart it would be a stupid purchase because of how expensive it would be. And part of me knows I wouldn’t use it near as often as I think I would.

 Why do you have to be so damn expensive iPad?

Why do you have to be so damn expensive iPad?

At least I took the time to do some of this week’s tasks. I feel like I have been slacking the last few weeks and haven’t given myself enough time to reflect on the prompts.


Affirmations:

  1. I AM A TALENTED PERSON

  2. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE AN ARTIST

  3. CREATIVITY IS A BLESSING I ACCEPT

  4. MY CREATIVITY BLESSES OTHERS

  5. I NOW ACCEPT CREATIVE RECOVERY


Tasks:

  1. Goal search:

    1. Name your dream: “In a perfect world I would secretly love to be a” Working Photographer

    2. Name one concrete goal that signals to you its accomplishment. Quitting my day job and making a living using my camera.

    3. In a perfect world where would you be in 5 years in relation to your dream. I would have a working studio space where I could work uninterrupted

    4. In the world you inhabit now what action can you take this year to move you closer. Try to live more frugally and build up a safety net.

    5. What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now? Not buy the new iPad pro, Shoot more and build my “team”, Stay focused, Watch more videos and continue learning.

    6. Select a role model. Make an action plan. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 1 month, 1 week, Now. Choose an action (Working this is an action).

  2. List 5 things that you are not allowed to do

    1. Stay at home when I need a day off

    2. Quit my day job

    3. Buy new or experimental equipment on a whim

    4. Shoot something every day

    5. Work outside of my office

  3. Now do that thing on paper.

  4. List 20 things you would like to do. Answer these questions for each item: Does it cost money or is it free? Expensive or cheap? Alone or with somebody? Job related? Physical risk? Fast-paced or slow? Mind, body, or spiritual? (I don’t think I’ll be able to do 20)

    I would like to be a working photographer.
    It does cost some initial money, but eventually becomes “free”.
    It can be both expensive and cheap.
    I can do it alone, or with someone. But mostly it will require having someone else.
    It is exactly job related as I want it to be my job.
    It would be mostly fast paced.
    It would satisfy my mind and spirit, but would cause my body to be tired…but in a good way.

    I want to travel more and network
    Doing this “properly” could get very expensive
    This travel would be best to be done alone, but having someone else along for the ride could help offset costs.
    It could help me build by skills and clients.
    If done properly the physical risks are quite low, but it would require lots of travel and meeting of strangers.
    I hope it could be slow. I’d like to take as much time as possible.
    I would want it to be more of a spiritual journey.

    I want to make progress on one of my many project ideas
    It would cost a fair bit of money
    Not cheap, but not expensive. Unless you count renting a space long term
    It would need to be a collaborative effort.
    It would help my job.
    The worst physical risk would be injuries caused by lifting or set building
    I want it to be a slower process
    It would be more for my mind.

  5. Ideal Day: Plan a perfect day in your life as it is now constituted.
    I wake up, hit the snooze button a few times, and then finally wake up for real. I’m up early enough to take a good long shower without being rushed. I have the stomach to eat something for breakfast before heading out the door. No idiots have been in any accidents, and traffic is manageable. I’m at work before 9 and can find a stopping point in whatever podcast I’m listening to before heading inside. My boss isn’t on some kind of tear, he isn’t yelling, he isn’t stressing out about the state of some minute thing. He lets me do my job without micromanaging me. He appreciates the time and effort I put into the work that I do. The work I do for him, not for me. Lunch is something good, likely catered, I don’t have to eat the same thing I have eaten for lunch all week. I’m able to get my work done at a reasonable time, and have some time to catch up on internet things. I get to leave at a reasonable time after my work is finished for the day. I don’t sit in traffic for an hour going home, and if I do hopefully I have a good podcast to keep me not thinking about being stuck in traffic. I get home and have enough time to cook and or eat a hot dinner. I have enough energy to go do something that doesn’t involve crawling into bed. I get to sleep at a reasonable time, and actually fall asleep.

  6. Ideal Ideal Day: Plan a perfect day as you WISH it were constituted.

    The alarm goes off. I wake up having just enough sleep from the night before. I know my gear is ready and packed. I made sure of this. Batteries are ready, computer is ready, and my concept is ready. I take a long shower, longer than usual, and have time to shave. I’ll grab coffee on the way to the studio, maybe I’ll grab some fruit for breakfast. I arrive. I enjoy the silence before everyone else arrives, but not for too long since the crew will soon be here. The studio manager arrives, I’m not mad that they are a little late. Sometimes even I need some time to slow down As the rest of my team arrives I turn on some music, and let everyone get to work. The shoot starts. Everyone is working perfectly together. The images come fast to the workstation computer. It is done. After a backup, we break for lunch or maybe dinner. Time goes so fast when everything is working the way it should. The crew leaves, the model and I shake hands and wish each other well. My magazine contacts are happy with the RAWs, the clients are ecstatic, they can’t wait for everything to be completed. It’s time to cull through what we captured for the day. A call with my manager reminds me what my next potential projects are. After some quick color toning the images are off to the editor. Their work begins tomorrow, but for now, I sleep. But not before making sure everything is ready for the next day, the next shoot, the next adventure.

  7. Choose one festive aspect from your ideal day/ Allow yourself to live it.


Day 54:

 I guess I’ll take that as a sign, fortune cookie. I’ll keep on keeping on.

I guess I’ll take that as a sign, fortune cookie. I’ll keep on keeping on.


Check In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? (Have you been tempted to abandon them?) How was the experience for you? I skipped one day this week (technically two if you count Sunday) due to travel. Otherwise I completed my pages each morning. I still don’t feel like I am getting the most out of them that I can. I also don’t feel like I am asking the right questions, even if I am getting some answers (see below).

Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you been allowing workaholism or other commitments to sabotage this practice?) What did you do? How did it feel? This week I took myself on my first real artist date in a few weeks. I feel like I have been slacking a little bit on these due to other commitments and being extremely busy.

I had originally planned on visiting the local design museum, but was reminded that there was an oddities show in town and decided to go there instead.

 If I had a place to put it, all of these funerary tools would have probably come home with me.

If I had a place to put it, all of these funerary tools would have probably come home with me.

 Jackalope, the most dangerous game.

Jackalope, the most dangerous game.

A lot of the questions I’ve been asking in my morning pages all revolve around money and how I both obtain it and let it get spent. So I guess in some ways me leaving the show without spending anything but the entry fee was a good thing. I have prioritized some things in my life over buying trinkets…no matter how strange and interesting I find them to be.

I also spent two days this week playing board games with friends. It was a good way to spend some time and get my mind right…or at least more right than it was during the rest of the week.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? I don’t think I did. Or if I did I certainly didn’t notice it or can’t think about it now.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. My mood this week was not so great overall. I was very tired and very much needed some time to rest. This was made very clear to me when on Saturday after my date I went home and fell pretty much to sleep at 6:00 and didn’t wake up until the next morning.

I very much need to budget more time for me in the upcoming weeks.


The Artist's Way - Week 7

Day 42:

In the reading this week I am reminded of two things:

 "Don't compare your behind the scenes to some else's highlight reel" - Someone

"Don't compare your behind the scenes to some else's highlight reel" - Someone

And–


Week 7 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Archeology, An Exercise
Complete as many additional Exercises as possible.


Archeology, An Exercise

Complete these phrases:

  1. As a kid I missed the chance to be a kid

  2. As a kid I lacked friends my own age

  3. As a kid I could have used a mentor or someone that would just listen to me

  4. As a kid I dreamed of being a scientist

  5. As a kid I wanted to be loved and understood

  6. In my house we never had enough time for ourselves

  7. As a kid I needed more positive re-enforcement

  8. I am sorry that I will never again see a world where everything doesn’t exist in your pocket

  9. For years I have missed and wondered about “G”, I wonder how she is doing these days

  10. I beat myself up about the loss of my youthful energy

It is important to acknowledge our positive inventory as well as our shortfalls. Take positive stock of what good you have to build on in the present.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Finish these phrases:

  1. I have a loyal friend in Nathan, mostly, or Kristin, she always sets me straight

  2. One thing I like about my town is how close I am to just about everything I want to do

  3. I think I have nice wit

  4. Writing my morning pages have shown me I can change up my day to day and set new habits.

  5. I am taking a greater interest in starting something for myself

  6. I believe I am getting better at managing my stress and feelings

  7. My artist has started to pay more attention to other artists and their struggles and challenges

  8. My self-care is a big bath tub with plenty of room. I wish I had one.

  9. I feel more calm, confident, and full of anxiety all at once.

  10. Possibly, my creativity is wanting more from me and the world around me .


There will probably be a lot of poor excuses on this one. I was traveling all week for work and didn’t get a whole lot of time to myself to complete the tasks assigned.

Tasks:

  • Make this phrase a mantra “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong” I made the effort to write this at the top of each of my morning pages, and think heavily about how I can treat myself better day to day.

  • Give yourself time to listen to one side of an album, just for joy. This was able to be done, except the album could have probably been more joyful. I found myself wanting to listen to The Downward Spiral a few times this week…and I did.

  • Take yourself to a sacred space and allow yourself to savor the silence and healing solitude. Silence is pretty hard to find in New York City. I’ll take some time next week and see what quiet places I can find.

  • Wear your favorite item of clothing for no special occasion. This also will probably be a next week task.

  • Buy yourself one wonderful pair of socks, one wonderful pair of gloves– One wonderfully comforting self-loving something. I’ve spent a lot of money on my Artist-child over the last few weeks. I think I need to slow down lest I become way more in debt than I want to.


Check In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you allowed yourself to daydream a few creative risks? Are you coddling your artist child with childhood loves? I skipped a few days this week, 2 for sure and I did a half day one day. I was in a van a lot for work, and also on a very tight timeline most of the mornings.

I want to have more time to daydream, and I’d love to coddle my artist child more. But I’m not sure how.

Did you do your artist date this week? Did you use it to take any risks? What did you do? How did it feel? I also skipped my artist date. Which of course really sucks because I was in one of the most fantastic of cities in which to do just that.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? None that I noticed.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. I almost feel like I backtracked a little this week. I dove into my day job hard, and really didn’t carve out any time for me.

I feel really anxious as I am finalizing this entry, I wanted so much more out of it. I will do better in the upcoming week to try and “catch up”.

The Artist's Way - Week 6

Day 35:

I am unusually excited for today. I have been planning a shoot for the last few weeks and am really happy to be back behind the camera using some new equipment. By the time this blog goes live I should have the photos ready to post in a secondary Blog post, but until then I’ll share the following two sneak peeks.

 A couple of thumbnails from what happened tonight.

A couple of thumbnails from what happened tonight.

 Just take a look at this good lookin’ fellow.

Just take a look at this good lookin’ fellow.

I wanted my Halloween set this year to pay homage/tribute to the late Rick Genest AKA Zombie Boy who unexpectedly passed away a few months ago. RIP you beautiful human being.

Because of the shoot my homework for the week is going to be pushed back a little bit while I get the creative juices out.


Week 6 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Money Madness, An Exercise
Complete as many additional Exercises as possible.


Day 36:

The end of today was very frustrating, dealing with UPS and international shipments made my blood boil. I was anticipating coming home to work on photos and go to sleep when a comedian friend from LA dropped me a message and said he was having a show.

I’ll take this as the Universe’s way of telling me I need to calm the fuck down and chill out for a few hours.

 When Rivers Langley invites you out to a comedy show…you go.

When Rivers Langley invites you out to a comedy show…you go.


Money Madness, An Exercise:

Complete the following phrases:

  1. People with money are luckier than they know

  2. Money makes people change

  3. I’d have more money if I had less bills to pay each month.

  4. My dad thought money was something to be hidden away

  5. My mom always thought money would help provide

  6. In my family, money caused a lot of confusion

  7. Money equals comfort

  8. If I had money I’d be a lot more comfortable in my day to day

  9. If I could afford it, I’d rent a studio space and quit my day job

  10. If I had some money I’d probably stress about whether to spend or save it

  11. I’m afraid that if I had money I would forget what it was like to not have any money.

  12. Money is a needed evil

  13. Money Causes some people to be happy, and other people to be miserable.

  14. Having money is not all its cracked up to be

  15. In order to have money I’d need to work even harder or win the lottery

  16. When I have money I usually spend it

  17. I think money could solve a lot of my current problems

  18. If I weren’t so cheap I’d buy more photography equipment

  19. People think money isn’t as big of a deal as it actually is

  20. Being broke tells me I know how to survive without a lot of money


Additional Tasks

  • Clearing: Throw out or give away 5 ratty pieces of clothing This was surprisingly easy, this time. Usually I tend to hoard old clothes for sentimental reasons. But this time it was easy to pick out some things from another life and give them to Goodwill.

    I even found a few pieces I may try to sell on eBay to make a few extra dollars.

  • Creation: Bake Something (or make a fruit salad)

 A food photographer I am not, but I can throw together a mean fruit salad

A food photographer I am not, but I can throw together a mean fruit salad

  • Communication: Send a postcard to a friend. Can a Twitter message count? I couldn’t find an address to send a physical card. But I did send a thank you message to someone who saw my potential and helped me realize there was more to my path than working a crappy retail 9-5.

  • Re-read the basic principles daily. I’ve actually missed this several times this week because I have forgotten to do them. Even though I have them written at the beginning of my morning pages notebook.

  • Acceptance: Any new flow in your life? Practice saying “Yes” to Freebies (See above Day 36).

    Also Facebook gave me $15 in “free advertising”. So I figured why the hell not and decided to throw a few of my own dollars into the mix. I still feel a little dirty about it, but let’s see where it goes.

  • Prosperity: Any changes to your financial situation or your perspective on it? Any new– even crazy– ideas about what you would love doing? No real changes so far, but next week I’ll be spending some time with the president of my day job, earlier this year he offered to sit down with me and discuss my financial future with the company (eg: Raises and Compensation). Maybe it will lead somewhere that will make things much more comfortable in the short term.

    I’ve been thinking a ton about the lottery (so is the rest of the country I guess). It would be wonderful to win a Billion dollars (yeah, probably closer to 500 million after tax). No longer would I have to limit myself because of finances.

    I still maintain that I’d probably end up giving away a lot of it. I’d much rather “spread the wealth” and help other people live their dreams as well.


Day 41:

 It finally happened. I’m now dreaming about morning pages…

It finally happened. I’m now dreaming about morning pages…

I didn’t win the lottery. I mean, at heart I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it.


Check In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you used them to think about creative luxury for yourself? I ended up missing a page this week. Today actually. Yesterday I dreamed that I missed a few days and woke up very anxious about it, but today I got up later than I wanted to and had to get ready for a wedding. So I had no choice but to miss today.

I don’t feel as anxious as I did in my dream, but I still don’t feel great about it. It’s getting a little late in the day so I need to prep for next week still. But I should be ok.

I don’t think I’ve been musing in the pages about creative luxuries for myself, but I have been thinking about them more. I still dream of a studio, or a space I can use as such. This is my goal.

Did you do your artist date this week? Have you considered allowing yourself two? What did you do? How did you feel? I had a ton of errands to get ready for next week’s trip to NYC for work. I went out and bought a new pair of jeans, and looked at shoes.

I guess this could be considered a date as I was doing something for myself. I considered buying a leather jacket. Not that I really need one. But something inside of me likes the idea of me wearing one.

I’d love to have more time to go on dates. But I find it hard enough to schedule one each week. If only there was more time in the day.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? Monday after my day job I left in a very bad mood. I had been dealing with a frustrating shipping issue for most of the tail end of the day and just wanted to get home, eat dinner, and work on photos. But as I got on the interstate a friend from out of town sent me a text and invited me to see him perform stand-up comedy (See day 36 above).

I really do think that was the universe’s way of telling me to calm down and take a load off for an hour or so. Even if I was REALLY tired the next day at work.

Taylor - 2018.

A few years around this time Taylor showed up to a Halloween party with a face full of makeup that he had been wearing all day (and would continue to wear all through the night) courtesy of his partner Courtney (with whom I have worked with in the past and consider a member of my current and future “team”).

I was impressed then, but was reminded of it this year when it came time to shoot my yearly Halloween series of images.

Courtney worked her magic, and within a few minutes I knew I had something I loved. I’m happy to share with you the results of our evening spent together.

But before we get there, first this. A few months ago Rick Genest AKA “Zombie Boy” tragically died in what is being investigated as a freak accident a few days after his 32nd birthday. While I didn’t know him personally, Rick had a look that few could top. And even if you don’t think you knew of him, there is a good chance that you have seen his photo. I dedicate this year’s series to him and the beautiful legacy he left behind.




Happy Halloween everyone.

Model: Taylor
Makeup: Courtney Walters Makeup

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