Lytro: why I believe it can be the best street photography camera you can buy

I got a Lytro camera on Craigslist, and let me tell you, it's weird as hell.

What is a Lytro camera? It's a light field camera, so it takes a picture in a different way than most. I'm not a scientist, so I'm not going to attempt to go into the minutia of how it works, but I'll tell you this: You can choose focus points AFTER TAKING A PHOTO.

You're probably thinking that's dumb or maybe you're thinking that's amazing, I don't know. Either way, it's a fringe camera with an undefinable market. Who's buying this? Camera nerds I guess.  

After playing with it for a couple days, I had a sudden realization that I'm going to test this weekend. The Lytro camera could be the best street photography camera ever made.

Yes, the photos are low res, but we've been using cell phones as acceptable cameras for years now.  The camera is small, and doesn't actually look like a camera.  You can walk around with this thing in such a way that people may not even notice. The shutter is almost completely silent save for a light clicking sound that is not audible outdoors.  It's subtle, and extremely portable.

The selling point of the camera is being able to focus your photos after taking them, which for street photography is a revelation.  With street photography, you're forced to live in a moment, a moment that's very easy to mess up if your settings aren't right.  You don't have to worry about that now.

Granted, I don't know that it's great for street photography for sure, but I'm going to spend the weekend finding out.  I'll come back with my results; I could be completely wrong.  I've seen the Lytro for $50 brand new in some places, so for what you're getting it seems worth it so far.  It won't be a daily driver or anything serious, but if you're a fringe photography enthusiast, this is for you.

To be continued.

How to get your creative juices flowing: YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS

The secret to getting your creative juices flowing is simple:

 

GET TO WORK.

After a week of trudging through a creative swamp, I finally have that spark back again...for now.

I've been working tirelessly on the podcast, taking photos, writing, and various other project. At first, it wasn't fun, but once I got into the swing of it, I don't want to stop. I'm loving every minute of it.

The steps I laid out in my last post concerning this matter helped for sure, but the flat out secret to producing work is just to produce work.  It's a chain-reaction: you start writing about nothing, than an wild idea appears(!) and you start gaining momentum.  Same with photography: walk outside to take photos and things will start coming to you. If you've taken 10 photos and have 1 good one, you've done pretty well.  

Once I get internet back to my home (hopefully this week), Netflix will rear is beautiful head at me and I may fall back into my slump, and this process will all begin again.  It's a natural cycle, and if you're a person who likes to make things, you'll probably fight this your entire life.  

Kenneth

Kenneth

On a different note: Monday's (Aug 10) podcast episode features Kenneth Burke, my friend who has been working on his very own 365 project. His 365 project is much different than mine: He's reading one book a week for 52 weeks.  Impressive, right? Well, he's getting close to the end, so I had him help me build a list of tips in audio form on how to start a year-long project.  You can subscribe to The 365 on iTunes. 

The Great Photo Drought of 2015

So...haven't had a "new" photo for my 365 in a few days, so I've remedied that by creating double exposures by combining old images.  Here are a few:

It's possible that I appear to be breaking the rules of the 365, however, I've been spending each day exploring and tooling with past images, finding uses for ones that have fallen away.  I'm enjoying it very much; it's teaching me what I love about the medium in the first place.

That said, I've had a shortage of subjects to photograph (due to my busy schedule and having to move to a new house), and I've been working hard on my podcast.  I'm also planning out some more photo projects (post-365), which are going to be really exciting and possibly some of my best work yet.  You'll hear more of that in the coming months.  

I do still have quite a bit of film to develop, so hopefully you'll be able to see that soon.  Don't forget, if you want to keep up with my stuff day to day outside this website, you can follow me on Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram: willmalone365 (same for all of them), my podcast page is the365podcast.tumblr.com, and my personal Instagram account is still just @willmalone.

The mission of my book "Everyone Can Be A Photographer"

I've encountered a common attitude among many professional photographers, one that discourages beginners from the art.  After my latest brush with this attitude problem, I had to write this book to encourage beginners and prove that you CAN be a photographer no matter what walk of life you come from.  Maybe this book could even serve as a reminder to professionals that you can't just sit on your haunches; it takes creativity beyond the act of taking pictures because the medium is so accessible now.  Having technical skill with the camera doesn't make you stand out, but that doesn't mean you can't find ways to have your work be seen.  Be an active photographer as opposed to a passive, defensive one.  

Since I came from a "zero-art" background, I know becoming a photographer is possible.  I still have a long way to go before I become the photographer I want to be, but I can see improvement and a greater understanding of the medium developing through my years of photo taking. I want to share the knowledge I've gained with others who feel like they "aren't creative".  Everyone is creative, some just need to be shown that they are.  Not everyone is in it to make money, some may just want an outlet, a hobby.  

Photographers wouldn't be photographers if they didn't love the art.  Why not share our love with others?

Look for the book in September, and sign up for my newsletter (to the right in the sidebar) for updates.     

Miami art district

Today, based on the awesome recommendation of a friend (Chris from Episode 2 of The 365 podcast), we got to check out the art district in Miami, Wynwood.  Galleries were everywhere, but what really struck me were the murals.  There were TONS of murals, in fact, there was an outdoor exhibit made of walls and doors with some awesome art on them.  After today, I fully believe every town should be riddled with murals of different styles.  Chattanooga has a couple cool ones, but we need to up our game there.  

Let's be honest. The Paul Walker mural immediately won my heart.  We can only have so many founding fathers and Steve Jobs murals.  Let's honor someone who left us far too early, who didn't necessarily leave a huge legacy, yet they encouraged and excited people through their work.  RIP Paul Walker

Pretty cool wall. If this was in Chattanooga, I predict a bunch of hipsters and tween girls would regularly have photoshoots in front of it.  Speaking of which:

from left to right: Sam, Woody, Jeremy (Woody's brother)

from left to right: Sam, Woody, Jeremy (Woody's brother)

My beautiful wife

My beautiful wife

(Not pictured) My visit to Panther Coffee within this art district.  Delicious coffee, so I bought a pound to take home.  Really glad I got to explore Miami a little deeper this time around.  I'm a big SoFlo fan.  

I'll have about 5 rolls of film to develop after this trip. Excited to see what I got.  You'll probably see more Wynwood when those are developed.

Palm studies

I've always had a fascination with palm trees growing up. They grow in the direction of the wind, they bend, they grow insanely tall at times, they shed, they can grow coconuts, and they have a very distinct shape.  There are people who's jobs it is to climb them and cut them back so the branches don't crush your car.  Palm trees are really crazy if you think about it, and they are also a sign of paradise.

I don't live in a place where I see them too often anymore, but when I do, they are all the more special.  During this week, I've been using the fiery branches for double exposure "experiments".

Taking the 365 on the go

Today My wife and I head with a couple friends to South Florida. We had a lot of downtime at the airport, and I hadn't taken today's photo of the day yet. Had to get creative. 

The theme is "Double" so I figured I'd do a double exposure via the iPhone (as to not get tackled for wandering around the airport with my huge DSLR)  Decided against doing a true double exposure and just stuck with the idea of double through reflection instead.

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 Here's some other shots via my iPhone:

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Woody took this one. Neck beard to the max  

Woody took this one. Neck beard to the max  

ADORABLE  

ADORABLE  

via Snapchat

via Snapchat

Gus

Gus

Double Exposures Part III

Here are this week's Double Exposures.  I'm quite pleased with this batch.

Here's a quick one when I just snapped two shots one after the other.  I liked how I managed to capture movement while avoided the whole blurry photo look. I think I was lucky and the dark wooded background was flat enough so only the subject was blurry.

Here's one of my wife. I took a photo of her, then took a photo of the trees out of focus as the second image.  

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I did the same thing with my usual guinea pig, Woody. (below)

I think the key to making more original double exposures is to almost completely avoid making it look too clean.  The overly clean style looks like it could be made in photoshop, which instantly makes people less interested in the process of it.  

The "clean" double exposure is the look I feel like is most often striven for, since that's the typical idea of what a double exposure is.  I think I'm beginning to prefer the more subtle look, where "double exposure" isn't the viewer's immediate guess.  

I'm beginning to make moves on what my original "Locus" project was meant to be.  Once the 365 ends, I may bring that project back, this time, performing my original vision for the project.  I don't quite know how I'm going to go about that yet, but that will be a new challenge for 2016.  For now, 2015 is for re-tooling, reinventing, practice, and experimentation.  

I'm about half way through this 365 project, and it'll be my last for a little while.  Hopefully, out of that decision comes a bunch of more focused projects, maybe even attempts at gallery work.  We'll see what the next 6 months hold.  

Summer Favorites 2015

Christmas and summer are the two times of year I really get through some movies, books, and television.  With it being the summer movie season, tons of new films come out every week.  When I get a vacation, I get to read a bunch of books.  Then, of course, there's summer television, where the lesser known shows get some spotlight.  Here's what I'm checking out now:

Movies:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road- Amazing practical effects, stunning cinematography, amazing soundtrack. Best movie of the year so far for me, hands down. 

2. Jurassic World- a lot of dumb stuff in it, but it was just so satisfying. You can't help but like it.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron- It's the biggest superhero movie ever made, nothing will touch it for years to come.  

4. Harmontown- documentary based on my favorite podcast and one of my favorite writers 

5. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief- scary

. Face Off- I watched this years ago, but didn't realize it was the greatest movie ever made until recently

Television:

1. Halt and Catch Fire- lesser known show about the "computer era" in the 80s. It's fully fictional, but references Apple, IBM, and other big real companies of the time.  The first season is on Netflix, the second is on the air. SUPPORT THIS SHOW! It barely got a second season, and it's only getting better. I want a third so bad.

2. True Detective Season 2- Doesn't seem to have the same distinct feel of the first season, and has a lot more moving parts. The premiere was confusing, but set up some interesting plotlines.  I'm excited for where it's going.

3. Chef's Table- Netflix show about cooking made by the creator of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Each episode is an hour long documentary about a different, original chef. The show is very well shot and super interesting.  Watch all 6 episodes now.

Books:

1. Daring Greatly- Great book by Brene Brown about vulnerability. It's a must read for everyone.

2. War of Art- Book by Steven Pressfield about fighting the Resistance, the force that keeps you from doing your work.  It's a nice kick in the pants for any artist and/or creator

3. Southern Reach Trilogy- I'm not usually into fiction, but I read the first book and was hooked.  It's very grounded in the real world, but gives off some supernatural vibes ala True Detective.  I'm currently reading the second.

Next up: I'm about to start reading a book about the Beatles break up called You Never Give me Your Money. I'm saving it for the beach though.