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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

An interview with artist Marc Taro Holmes

Late last week I published an interview with Marco Taro Holmes, one of the original members of Urban Sketchers, on my now 10-year old web site The Watercolor Gallery.

It was a pleasure to interview Marc and a lot of his answers epitomize the reason I built The Watercolor Gallery in 2010 – to inspire and motivate other artists regardless of their medium or tools.

Here are a few pull quotes from the interview that I believe should inspire anyone that wishes to be creative.

You have to completely understand your own process before you can teach it to someone else right? So it’s incredibly educational to be a teacher. I know a guy who calls teaching ‘Aggressive Learning’.

And:

I feel like art in our society got off on a wrong track. We don’t look at sport, or music in the same way. Art is often considered ‘inspiration’. or ‘a gift’. We don’t think that way about anything else that involves training your body to perform complex tasks. Dance, Piano, Yoga – a Martial Art – all these things all involve coaching and self-training programs. And competitions. Score-keeping. Practical ways to motivate yourself and improve your abilities.

And:

Focus on skills first. Invest in yourself. If the work isn’t there, nothing else matters.

And:

And you know – it’s perfectly fine not to live from your art. Some of the greatest artists and writers in history have been office clerks or postal workers.

And finally, on blogging:

It’s a terrific vehicle for organizing your thoughts – but it’s also that guy who stands over your shoulder and pressures you to keep working! To deliver something for the audience. I love that boost to my motivation. It was fuel for the fire to keep learning about art, and keep sharing what I learned.

Stop by the site and read the entire interview. But also stop by Marc’s blog.

A few houseplants – April 2020

On Sunday morning I decided to quickly set up a photo shoot for my current houseplants. Here are just a few that I liked. The others didn’t come out the way I wanted due to a few limitations. So I’m hoping to do another photo shoot in the near future.

Repost: Brent Simmons on what happens after a pandemic

👉 Brent Simmons:

I keep thinking how the 1918 pandemic was followed by the Roaring Twenties.

It is so odd listening to my newly published podcast episode, which I recorded in mid-January, as it was an entirely different world.

Mic & Nics

Photographing Mic & Nics – January 2020

Recorded January 15, 2020

You may recognize this building. I wrote about how I practiced my light metering with it. Well, I also recorded myself on a different day shooting it with very expired film.

The filmstrip

In this episode of the podcast I chat about using a shutter release with a film camera for the first time and my joy in finding compositions of a rather bland building.

Thursday is my new Friday.

What I saw somewhat recently #63: April 23, 2020

A few links to expand (or shrink) your mind.

  • WildEarth Live Safaris – Two 3-hour safaris live broadcast on YouTube daily. I’ve watched one completely through and plan to watch more of them. They are relaxing and informative.
  • 98.css – CSS stylesheet to make all HTML elements styled as if they exist within Windows 98. Fun.
  • Planet of the Apes by Folio Society – All-new illustrations and typographic work for the classic Planet of the Apes book. Very tempted to pick this up.
  • Rt.live – A web site tracking the effective reproduction number of COVID-19 by State by the founders of Instagram.
  • Sounds of Heritage – A YouTube channel dedicated to a single artist, single camera, and the sounds of heritage. Love this.
  • Cirque du Soleil – Speaking of YouTube, Cirque du Soleil is uploading a new 1 hour special every week. Apart from attending one of these, this is the next best thing on your living room TV.

Apple has hundreds of billions of dollars in cash reserves… more than any company in the history of mankind. It is using this money to bring back Fraggle Rock. I wholeheartedly approve.

Magic Leap blaming COVID-19 for why it has to lay off 1,000 people is just a terrible bit of messaging. They have raised nearly $3B. And they can’t raise any more right now. And the FB deal fell through. So they have no choice regardless of this pandemic.

Finished Contact by Carl Sagan. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The horrific and avoidable loss of life notwithstanding I believe many will wish quarantine life to continue when things begin to open up once again. I know I may be among them.

I uploaded my first photo to Flickr in a very long time. I’m thinking of joining the community of film enthusiasts there. I chose this photo. So if you’d like to see a much larger size go here.

Taken with Ansco Speedex on expired Kodak Tri-X 400

Over the river – March 2020

I love how this tree hangs over the river. I’ve photographed it many times and assume I will many times more.

This particular image is a re-scan of a negative. I learned a slightly different way to scan and edit the resulting digital positive and I believe the above image is extremely good quality (though, the version I’ve uploaded to my blog is only 2,000 pixels wide).

See also; Studebaker, Sweeny’s Bench, Rail side. All of these being from the same roll of film.

What I saw somewhat recently #62: April 17, 2020

A few things I bumped into recently:

Taken with Ansco Speedex on expired Kodak Tri-X 400

Rail side – March 2020

I’d forgotten to publish this one. It is from the same expired roll I shot Sweeny’s Bench and the Studebaker on.

I may have to take back what I wrote about the iPhone SE. Without doing much digging I suppose I just assumed it was still a smaller option. I guess it isn’t. The iPhone 8 form factor is fine (I have one that I use for the podcast) but the SE should be smaller.

Common Merganser takes flight triptych – April 2020

Sort of a triptych I suppose. I wish I had set the camera to a much faster shutter speed but I just didn’t have the time.

It appears that some of my Gutenberg woes have been fixed in 7.9.0. I still think the latest redesign has a much steeper learning curve than the original UI – but at least some of the bugs seem to have been fixed.

Instagram’s TOS

Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter, regarding Instagram’s TOS:

The language is typical of many photo sharing sites (including PhotoShelter), so in that sense it’s unremarkable. The company needs the ability to redisplay images, and wants to be able to have, for example, an image appear in the app, within an Instagram Story, and on the website without having to regain consent each time it comes up with a new feature.

The post I pulled this quote from does a good job framing the issue with Instagram’s TOS and the Mashable case.

I don’t know why it is ever surprising to anyone that if you upload content of any type to a free platform that you likely relinquish some or all of your rights to it. If you don’t like that, get a web site.

The updated iPhone SE looks great. Kinda sorta wished I needed a new phone. Since I’m shooting mostly film these days I don’t really need my iPhone 11 Pro Max. But I am glad to have it.

Moved well over 20GB worth of photos in seconds yesterday using my script. MacBook didn’t break a sweat. I should have written this years ago.

If you use Trello for personal and/or business you may want to review this thread. Similar thing happened to me. The solution, for me, was to remove my work email from my account and keep it personal.

Quarantine project suggestion: Teach 1 person about RSS.

I don’t know what to feel or think about the I’m Back 35 digital sensor back for just about any 35mm SLR. But I think it is very cool.

Wolfram Physics Project

Stephen Wolfram continues to make me feel lazy:

Today we’re officially launching our Physics Project. From here on, we’ll be livestreaming what we’re doing—sharing whatever we discover in real time with the world. (We’ll also soon be releasing more than 400 hours of video that we’ve already accumulated.) I’m posting all my working materials going back to the 1990s, and we’re releasing all our software tools. We’ll be putting out bulletins about progress, and there’ll be educational programs around the project.

They are attempting to find the fundamental theory of physics, is all. See also.

I have two Instagram accounts. With Instagram on the web getting better I wanted to try it. But for the life of me I can’t figure out how to access the second account because they are “linked”.

Looks to me like a red and grey squirrel mix
Male Cardinal
Male Mallard
Sparrow taking flight
Freshly flowered Forsythia
Possible bilateral gynandromorph Cardinal (male and female)
Nuthatch
Chipmunk
Male Garter snake
Common Merganser
Turkey Vulture
Nutchatch

Wildlife from recent quarantine walks – March/April 2020

I’ve been shooting mostly digital during our as-often-as-possible nature walks near our home. We are really hunkering down at this point, trying our best to keep ourselves and those around us safe. So making these simple shots of nearby wildlife is a nice escape.

Programming is a super power.

My photo archive script has been updated to accept command line arguments for locations and help information. You can grab and edit a copy here.