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Category: Photography

Mindful Portrait Photography – A Manifesto

FaithI would like to reconnect with my photography but I would like to do it in a way that is informed by my Buddhist practice and that becomes part of that practice. This topic has been in the back of my mind for some time but has now crystallized into this manifesto for action. A manifesto that I hope will also be of  value to non-Buddhist photographers looking for direction.

Key to my practice is the notion of Right View or “inter-being” as it is formulated by Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh. We inter-are with each other and everything else; from the most distant star to the flea on the cat. Suffering is born of denying this truth. Joy comes from embracing it.

It seems easy to accept we are made of star dust but tough to admit our deep dependency on other humans. This lack of acceptance leads to the creation of barriers,  stereotyping,  prejudice and eventually violence. If we are to use our camera as a tool for positive change then it appears obvious we should use it to dissolve these barriers and that this should involve portraying others. This has potential both in the act of photographing and in the viewing of the photograph itself. Hence this manifesto is about Portraiture rather than any other form of photography.

DIY Book Scanner: Learn By Doing

Simple Scanner
Almost Free Scanner

In the last weekend of the Christmas break I was sat in Starbucks in Waterstones in Edinburgh considering which of a stack of potential books I was going to spend my Christmas book tokens on. I had just been playing with a Sony eBook reader and so was thinking maybe I should take the plunge and go digital with books as well as the rest of my life.

I wondered what I would do with my existing books. It would be nice to be able search through these and have them all with me when I travel. There would be issues with copyright if I were to copy them but there would also be technical problems. How would I get them in EPUB or PDF format? I did some Googling and came across a great site diybookscanner.org. There are some really innovative designs on this site and it got my obsessive thoughts going. There were two problems.

  • I only had 48 hours to play before going back to work and my wife and kids wanted some of that time.
  • I didn’t have a workshop. Just a desk and some simple tools.

Could I produce a scanner in that time? Would it work?

KAP – Another photographic box ticked

kap-photo_1
Cwm yr Eglwys - Wind too strong.

You may not have heard of it but Kite Aerial Photography is quite a widespread hobby. It involves strapping a camera to a kite and flying it over something interesting. The camera can be fired remotely or just on a timer. Serious people build complex radio control rigs to move the camera around and point it in different directions.

Doing silly things with cameras appeals to me so, when I realized that my older compact digital camera (a Nikon Coolpix S1) had a feature to fire a shot every 30 seconds, I just had to give it a go. I built a rig using the Picavet suspension system. Bought a large kite for £30 and took it on holiday to West Wales. The result was terrifying!