Turns out the universe is sneakier than I thought. I’ve been feeling very un-creative lately. I’ve been worrying that I haven’t been writing enough, that I haven’t been photographing enough, that I haven’t been blogging enough. I’ve felt like I was wasting my days off from my day job because I haven’t followed through with my plan to devote them solely to creative endeavours. Instead they’ve been filled with dentist appointments and grocery shopping and other mundanities.
And then the universe started sending me messages–little moments of synchronicity that have become impossible to ignore. More and more of my friends seem to be reaching turning points in their lives. Everybody seems to be discovering that where they are now is not where they want to be and, in order to get where they want to be, they need to make scary decisions. The theme coming out of hours of deep and meaningfuls is that in order to get what you want, you have to take a risk and jump in wholeheartedly. You have to believe that you have the ability and determination to pull off your dreams. I started this process last year. However, it’s becoming clear that I haven’t quite managed to follow through. Going part-time at work was a big step for me, but I haven’t done enough with the time. I think the universe is onto me.
Perhaps it’s just me, but the number of inspirationals about following your dreams in my Facebook feed seems to have doubled in the last couple of weeks.
And then there are those stupid gambling ads on TV that keep yelling at me to back myself. Even Masterchef the other night (I swear I wasn’t watching it and just flicked over in the ads) was going on about how I am the only one that can make my dreams come true and that if I don’t actually do anything, I’ll forever be just a dreamer.
So I was going to write a blog post about how I was failing at writing and failing at photography and failing at being the change I need in my life. But as I was doing it, I started to come up with a list of all the things I’d been doing instead of being creative. And I realised I’d made a mistake.
A couple of weeks ago I did two of half-day courses in Photoshop and started going back over old photos to see if I could improve them. Turns out I could…
I also started a document of random, incomplete story ideas the other day. So I’ve actually been doing a couple of hundred words of writing every day even though it’s not on one specific project.
And on top of that, I made up some Valkyrie wings for a fitness model friend for her next comp. So it turns out that I’m a bit more on track than I thought. Instead of the horrible I-Haven’t-Done-Enough motivation I had at the start of this post, I’ve got more of an I-Can-Do-This motivation. It’s amazing how much more motivating that is. Thank you universe. I need to go write something.
I’ve been reading a lot of photography blogs and, while they’re full of valuable advice and fascinating ideas, they’ve also been making me a little depressed. The blogs are full of “key source lights with fresnel lenses” and “LED spotlights with gels” and “full frame cameras with 25mm f/.95 lenses”. And these people have produced some amazing creative works. And this is the very reason I read these blogs. But the fact that I don’t have any of this enviable photographic equipment sometimes kind of hits my confidence. I started to wonder if I needed all that stuff to take a good photo.
So I decided to try to do a portrait without all the fancy equipment just to show myself it can be done. I went with a Game of Thrones theme because I’m a geek and it’s fun.
- a bedspread hung from a curtain rail (for the backdrop)
- a reading lamp attached to an exercise bike’s handlebars (key light)
- a few A4 sheets of white paper stapled together and blu tacked to a kitchen chair (reflector)
- camera with 18-55mm kit lens
- remote trigger.
I didn’t have anyone to model for me (which would have made things easier and maybe the final photo look a bit better) so it’s a selfie. The costume is just an inside-out, back-to-front coat, some black fabric, feathers, a belt and sweatpants*. I happened to have the sword prop already—probably the only ‘professional’ part of the costume.
So you can see that the set up is anything but professional, using only the most basic and cobbled together equipment, but I was really happy with the final photo:
I guess I need to keep reminding myself that creativity doesn’t rely on having the best equipment or most experience.
* I planned on only a medium or head shot but in the middle of the shoot I realised that I had to go for a longer shot and totally forgot in the creative frenzy that I hadn’t planned a full-length costume.
Another day, another costume…
A friend of some friends is running a LARP (Live Action Role-Playing game) and they needed another player. I’m pretty excited. The only other LARP I’ve played was where I met some of said friends and it was a lot of fun. In this one I’m playing no less than the King of the Wood Elves. It’s going to be great.
GEEK LEVEL: EPIC!!
And not only am I playing a fairly epic character, some of the other players are experienced cosplayers. So I need a moderately epic costume. I had some ideas that I’d never put into practice and when I gave them a go, it turned out even better than I thought it would.
It’s all actually made out of cheap buckets from the local hardware store. Just slit a bucket down the side, cut off the rim and base, blast it with a heat gun to flatten it and remove the shine and you end up with a sheet of plastic that can be cut up, shaped, stuck together and painted.
The black bucket strips actually looked pretty close to leather once I’d finished ‘treating’ them. I had to spray paint it, though. The King of the Wood Elves probably wouldn’t dress like an assassin. It did look awesome all in black, though. A couple of cheap belts and a bunch of little split rivets and the whole thing came together really easily. I’m adding a green bed sheet cloak and faux-fur mantle to hopefully make it pop a bit more.
And that’s where my creative energies have been directed lately.