52Frames – 2021-39 – Daily Habit

The theme for this week’s 52Frames was “Daily Habit” with an extra credit for “First Person View”. I’m not very good at daily habits these days, but the one thing I manage to do consistently is taking my thyroid hormone supplement first thing in the morning, and more than half an hour before breakfast. And the best way I found to manage to do that is to put it on top of my phone when I plug it in for the night – so one of my daily habits is doing exactly that!

I kept the picture simple: this is literally how it looks in the evening on my desk, with the light coming from the light suspension in the office. I kept the exposure on the lower side because it’s late, and I emphasized that with a bit of vignetting.

52Frames – 2021-38 – Curves

The theme for 52Frames this week was “Curves”. I coincidentally received a bunch of small ovoid polished stones this week (props for another project!); after playing with them for a little while I got the idea of organizing them along a sinusoidal curve.

I had first printed said curve ; I then realized I could use my tablet as a background to set them up and shut down the tablet, which would avoid a significant amount of postprocessing clean-up. Assembling the stones over the tablet ended up being fiddlier than expected (these things apparently CAN be detected as fingers when moving them around… annoying!), which means the setup is not perfect (and I was too lazy to fix in post) – but that’s one more week in the box 🙂

52Frames – 2021-36 – Woman

The theme for this week’s 52Frames is “Woman”, with an extra-credit of “Environmental Portrait”. So…. here, you see a Balise in her natural habitat – that’s my home office desk, with a tiny bit of clearing up/staging 😉 but otherwise reasonably realistic! It probably lacks a mug of coffee, but I wasn’t about to make myself coffee at the time I took this picture 🙂

And the advantage of working in a free software context is that I don’t have much to hide on my monitors – not that anything is actually much visible either, but eh 🙂

In praise of “I don’t know”

“I don’t know” is often hard to admit, and even harder to say. Professional or personal circumstances may make that even more difficult.

You may be arriving in a new environment, and be tired that “I don’t know” is every second sentence you want to say.

You may be an expert on a subject, and feel like “I don’t know” undermines your expertise.

You may worry that your “I don’t know” might be used against a larger group of people you belong to.

XKCD – How It Works

You may be afraid of repercussions of your “I don’t know” if you feel this is something that you should know.

You may have issues with imposter syndrome, and fear that “I don’t know” brings you that much closer to being exposed as a fraud (to be clear: that you are not!).

Your personal history may cause “I don’t know” to give rise to fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, or other difficult emotions in you.

But “I don’t know” is a powerful sentence, and the louder it gets, the more powerful it becomes.

Admitting “I don’t know” to yourself unlocks the possibility of learning.

Admitting “I don’t know” to select others unlocks the possibility of getting taught – and to be part of “today’s 10’000”!

XKCD – 10 Thousands

Admitting “I don’t know” to a larger audience unlocks the possibility of fostering a culture of continuous learning, where future “I don’t know”s become all the easier for everyone.

When it stems from a genuine desire to learn, “I don’t know” should be celebrated, and being the recipient of that vulnerability and trust is a privilege, regardless of one’s readiness to teach. Let’s be inspired, and celebrate that learning often starts with “I don’t know”!

52Frames – 2021-34 – Texture

The theme for 52Frames this week was Texture. The “regular” thing to do for me would be to grab my macro lens and hunt weird stuff around the house; instead, since I was walking in the city for another contest, I kept the “texture” theme in mind when I was shooting too.

I took this shot around the Viadukt area – I’m a sucker for industrial looks (although I suck at making good pictures of it 😦 ), and I liked the contrast with the stone wall next to it.

52Frames – 2021-33 – Night photography

Ideally, for the “Night photography” theme, I would have gone on a walk in the city by night and tried to get a few shots. That didn’t happen, so I took the lazy option of putting the tripod on the balcony and shoot some random starry sky instead. There was a nice little cloud around – and it was going faster than the star, so I kept it because I quite liked the effect on the picture! No, it’s not a UFO 🙂 And it technically counts as Astrophotography, which is the extra credit, so… there’s that!

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Grid

Grid of 3x3 images with various pictures of wooden manikins in various situations.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. And it worked out well, because there was an extra constraint on this Hunt: all the pictures had to be square, and the 10th was supposed to be a grid of the 9 other pictures. I like the square format, and I tend to crop in postprocessing rather than in camera, so this wasn’t much of a constraint for me – and since I had decided on a unifying theme already, this played out nicely!

I didn’t really shoot the images to “fit” a grid or a narrative (one constraint at a time 😉 ), but I was still fairly intentional in placing the pictures. The middle one (Denim) was the only one where I had the two manikins, so it needed to be in the middle. My idea for the grid was that the other pictures would represent some dreams they would be having while sleeping – and it kind of feels that these are weird enough to be believable dreams 😉 I placed the Spaghetti and the Hairbrush on opposite sides because they were both representing hair-related topics; and the other 6 I placed by trying to have some kind of directing line to the center.

And that’s it – this concludes the 32th Scavenger Hunt – which resulted in my favorite set ever in all the sets I submitted 🙂

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Grid album.

52Frames – 2021-32 – Line from a Song

A couple of wooden manikins dancing. They are shown three times in the image (past, present, future; past and future are smaller and fainter); a banner of hearts at the bottom of the image symbolizes the passing of time.

The theme for this week’s 52Frames is a (as far as I remember) yearly favorite (I’ve done it at least once in the past 🙂 ) – “Line from a Song”. There’s technically a generator (and the associated “extra credit” if you take the first sentence from the generator), but this time around I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love, and I thought I could do something neat with that. I pretty much had the image in my mind already; I’m not sure it completely matches what I envisioned, but I think it’s actually pretty close.

This picture is a composite of four photographies – the three of the manikins dancing, and the banner (which I made with paper and a marker 😉 ). It took me a while to get “good enough” image cutting (I just ordered a green screen. This should help future endeavors. Hopefully.), and then I played with opacities and whatnot to finally get the image above.

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Hairbrush

Wooden manikin looking at a hairbrush, looking puzzled.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. Given the distinct lack of hair on wooden manikins, this made the whole concept of a hairbrush confusing… which is literally the theme I went to for this picture.

I took the shots of the composite on a week-end morning before my shower, which you can see with the use of my superb teal bathrobe 😉

Hand holding a hairbrush in front of bathroom tiles.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
Exposure time1/6 s
Wooden manikin looking puzzled, standing in front of bathroom tiles.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
Exposure time2 s

Is that mannikin standing on a piano stool standing on another stool? You bet it is. Was my bathroom full of photo material for a few hours? You bet it was. (It’s fine, we have two 😛 ) Especially since this composite turned out to be particularly tricky. I had not realized how very important it was for the hand of the manikin and the hairbrush to have “compatible” angles – and I realized my mistake after having worked quite a lot on the first version of this image. For reference, this is the first version:

Bad composite of a wooden manikin holding a hairbrush in a way that's not remotely realistic.

I was, to put it mildly, quite dismayed. (The words “I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT PICTURE” were definitely uttered in multiple places.) But oh well – back to the shooting studio, I got way more careful with my angles, and I finally got something that worked better. I’m still not entirely happy with it: in particular, I have the impression that the difference in size between the brush and the manikin shows in the fact the brush seems sharper – I tried to correct it, I don’t think I fully managed it. And speaking of sharpness, the sharpness of the hand is debatable too – the DOF is probably a bit off / too shallow (Clearly, my bathroom is not large enough 😉 ).

But I did manage to get what I wanted with the picture, which is what matters! I’m happy I stuck with it and that I made the effort of reshooting, because it was well worth it. Note that extracting the brush hair was a pain, but I think I did well there. I’m also happy with the addition of the question mark: I would have liked it if hadn’t felt necessary, but “interrogative” is a fairly hard body language to make work without ambiguity – so I think this makes the intention clear without being incredibly obtrusive.

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Hairbrush album.