Menu

Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Om Malik, on his photo journey

Om:

I find using a 24mm wide angle lens, a 90 mm medium telephoto, or a 280 mm tele lens akin to using saffron in my rice or black salt in my lentils – flavors that are beautiful in their restraint.

I like reading his perspective on this. Less is definitely more. And constraints breed creativity. It is something I very much subscribe to myself with many things in life. And I’m drawn to some things that focused on constraints such as early Instagram or The White Stripes.

With my own photography, however, I view each tool as a different camera for a different project. I have a few select lenses for my DSLR, I use my Pixel 2 XL profusely, and I also have a DJI Phantom 4 Pro to be my eye in the sky. Some photos I’d never be able to capture using a single lens.

Along the way, whenever I hit a wall, as I do with all my questions, I turned to YouTube for the answers. It is a marvelous school, with easy-to-find tips and tricks galore.

I find YouTube indispensable.

I have been experimenting with editing my older photos with my new workflow and making interpretations of those archival images. But the biggest realization this has produced is that, unless the photos start off on the right foot inside the camera, it is difficult to reach a rewarding final interpretation.

I do this too. It is a fun exercise to see how you’d approach the editing of a photograph long after you’ve taken it. Like Om, I find that I would have shot the photo entirely differently just a few months or a year after I’ve taken it. Just like my palette has changed over the years (first, sweet wine then dry, first lighter beers than more bitter ones, first smokey scotches and now rye bourbons) so has my eye. And that is ok. The older photos aren’t worse or better – they were taken by a different person than I am today.

You can see Om’s photos on his photolog.

Om Malik on Google Photos vs Apple Photos

I’ve finally found some time this morning to read Om Malik’s post on Google Photos vs Apple Photos – a post that has been sitting in my Unmark queue since the day he published it.

Om Malik:

The improvements in Google Photos and lack of magic in Apple Photos sometimes make me wonder if I made the right choice by buying to Apple’s ecosystem and its ideology around software, data, and privacy.

I urge you to read his post. He’s very good at writing (he’s also terribly thoughtful, which I’ve covered here several times). Oh, and the day I met Om in San Francisco in 2007 I took a grainy photo of him on stage using an original iPhone. I wish I wrote posts like he does. But I digress.

Many of you reading this know my history with both Apple Photos and Google Photos (and several other cloud-based photo library services). I have torn these services down to their bare metal and tried to make them work for me. I have uploaded hundreds of gigabytes to both of these services. Multiple times. I’ve paid for both for several years as I’ve attempted to mold them to my liking.

So I know how Om feels when he watches a Google I/O keynote and wishes he was a Google Photos user. And then, subsequently, watching an Apple keynote and ending up wishing I had used Photos instead. This is somewhat akin to technology FOMO – wherein I simply wish I had the best features of every available service.

Currently, my process for storing our family’s photos is about as messy as it has ever been in my adult life. And I hate it. But I’m living with it until I find the mental strength to take yet another swing at making it work. As of today, I’m storing all of our photos within a single Apple Photos Library that exists on Eliza’s iMac. It is also backed up to two external hard drives. One that sits on her desk and one that stays with me in my laptop back. Our library is no longer backed up to the cloud anywhere*.

I told you, I hate it.

I won’t take the time to go into what I would consider the perfect service – but I think I can describe it like this – if Google Photos had a Mac / Windows app that also allowed me to have local copies of the files, that were stored in a simple directory structure, and stored the photo library meta data (like tags, or people, etc) in an open format like a documented JSON file, that’d be the ideal set up. Apple Photos allows some of this but it is so locked into Apple devices that it is no longer usable by me. I’m on Android today and I believe I’ll be on Android at least a few more years. (I love it)

All of this is to say, I feel you Om. And I understand the battle of wanting Apple’s principles of privacy applied to my photos but that I too am a human and I want all of these amazing things that Google Photos affords.

* My Google Pixel 2 saves photos to Google Photos automatically and Eliza’s iPhone X saves photos to iCloud automatically. So at any one point, several thousand photos are in the cloud, but the entire library is no longer stored online.

Dean Allen

I did not know Dean Allen. But you couldn’t have been a blogger in the early 2000s without coming across, and admiring and swooning over, Textism – Dean’s blog. I was no exception. In fact, I was still subscribed to Textism’s RSS feed until I heard the news. Likely a 15 or so year old subscription.

There have been some lovely things written about Dean that I’ve read over the last 24-hours.

Along with hundreds of tweets. I’m sure there will be more.

I read every word of these posts. It is nice that these people have their own blogs where they can post more than just a pithy remembrance, but something that can truly reflect their feelings going through this loss.

What Dean’s passing reminds me of is how much I miss really great personal blogs. But it seems like they are coming back stronger than ever. I really hope they are.

Om on the blogging challenge so far

Om Malik:

The blogging challenge, however has brought a rigor and discipline that was missing for most of the year. Almost three weeks into the challenge, I feel like a slugger in the middle of slump who is finally starting to recover his swing — connecting, but still missing the power. The desire to blog is back, writing longer pieces will come next and perhaps finally I will get the enthusiasm to write a book I eventually want to write!

I’ve never written professionally the way Om has. Sure, I’ve written on blogs that made some ad or sponsorship revenue, but I’ve never considered writing a discipline.

But, blogging for me is more about thinking. Sometimes a post will end up being something that people need or want. But most posts are really written for me. For me to jot down my thoughts on something or, really, for me to come to a conclusion on something.

It happens all the time. I’ll begin writing a post about something and have an opinion one way — only to find out by the time I’m done that I’ve changed my own opinion. That’s why I blog. And this recent challenge has got me thinking clearly again on a lot of things.

Side note: Not all things I write get published. Not by a long shot. So if I start off writing about something with the opinion of X only to convince myself to have they opinion of Y I sometimes end up not publishing it.

 

Podcasts that I listen to

Nearly a year ago I jotted down some non-tech podcasts that I was enjoying at the time. However, today I was tagged by Joe Casabona (Cassy) to jot down those that I’m listening to currently. Here is that list:

Just like everything else, I shake this list up from time-to-time but you’ll notice a few stay with me. Feel free to send me your suggestions.

These are simply in order as they appear in Overcast. You can read Kyle’s list too.

I tag Matt, Om, Dave, Toni, Geoff, Alex.

Om on writing

Happy Anniversary (sort of) to Om Malik of Gigaom for a decade of blogging. I haven’t shared much about Om on this blog save this experience from Wordcamp 2007 in San Francisco when I wasn’t feeling very well at all (travel often makes me sick).

When lunch break hit, I was hurting pretty badly. So I ended up sitting just outside the Swedish American Hall for a while and finally, while Om and I were speaking outside, Om said: “Go get some rest buddy.” Good advice.

That is Om in a nutshell. Easily one of the nicest and hardest working guys around.

His and Fred Wilson’s post made me try to figure out exactly when I began blogging. My best guess is somewhere in 1997. Unlike Om I haven’t been blogging every single day and I only made my living on blogging for a short period of time in these last 14 or so years. Someday I’ll have to write up my experiences though… it’d be fun.