I’m Not Gone, Just a Little Absent

When I moved to San Diego I had these grand ideas of the new city and new adventures providing me with the time and inspiration to get back into blogging and shooting photos (making art) on the regular. It was a great idea but it just hasn’t come to fruition. I’m not giving up but coming to terms with the fact that I can’t do all the things I want to do, be the person I want to be and still have free time.

At least not right now.

Hoping upon hopes that I can find a way to slow things down for a while, make some free time for myself and get back into the habit that used to be my life, writing. They say it’s one of those things you need to exercise or else risk losing it. My photography and writing are getting flabby. So am I, to be honest.

I started back to the gym last week and with the exception of Sunday, my day of rest you know, I’ve gone to the gym every day for an hour of cardio and/or strength training. I’m even debating restarting the 4-Hour Body diet. No excuses… except that I don’t wanna!

Learning that a change of venue doesn’t guarantee inspiration without the perspiration has been a difficult lesson to learn. Here’s to recreating my former self.

Mary Lambert is an Incredible Artist who Must be Heard

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The HeistLast October a video hit YouTube and absolutely exploded. I intended to do a writeup about it back then but life was busy at the time and I just didn’t get around to it. The video was a single from the debute of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘s first full-length album, The Heist. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a good while.

The video is titled, “Same Love,” and is about the experiences Macklemore, Ben Haggerty, encountered in his life in regards to homosexuality and how it has shaped his beliefs on equality. The song is amazing, giving me chills running across my arms as I remember back to scenes in the video.

Macklemore explained that the song also came out of his own frustration with hip hop’s positions on homosexuality. “Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip hop culture. It’s 2012. There needs to be some accountability. I think that as a society we’re evolving and I think that hip hop has always been a representation of what’s going on in the world right now.” Wiki

In the song you hear an incredible female vocalist named Mary Lambert. She is to me the Adele of America. Not just because they have a similar look but because their lyrics and voice are magnificently emotive and powerful. They sing from the heart, from their real-life experiences. They are each beautiful in their own right but it’s their powerful storytelling that stole my attention.

Portrait of Mary Lambert by Seattle photographer Lauren Colton

Portrait of Mary Lambert by Seattle photographer Lauren Colton.

Mary Lambert is a Seattle local, singer-songwriter and spoken-word artist. Her songs are known to tackle women’s issues and speak to a level of honesty and depth that few of her contemporaries have ever explored. Her songs remind me of those by Antony and the Johnsons without the orchestral flourishes. Go check them out as well. Continue reading

Speed-editing a Portrait in Adobe Photoshop by Aaron Nace

There are tons of videos on YouTube of people doing absolutely incredible things with Photoshop. Most of the time these videos are more impressive than they are practical. It’s pretty rare that I need to create a disaster scene from found photos, as amazing as the video is.

Today I stumbled onto a post from FStoppers featuring Aaron Nace speed-editing a portait for an editorial audience. The original image was shot by Aleksandar Jaredic.

Aleksandar Jaredic Before After by Aaron Nace of Phlearn.com

Aleksandar Jaredic Before After by Aaron Nace of Phlearn.com

It reminded me of a photo shoot I did last year. I originally was commissioned to shoot 5-10 executive head shots. When I got to their headquarters the plan changed to an incredible 45 head shots and an event shoot. In my head I was totally overwhelmed but I couldn’t let the client know this. I was working solo and given 8 hours to shoot 45 people and an event. Impossible right? Continue reading

Pier 24 Photography Museum in San Francisco

On Monday I joined a great friend, and photographer, Breezy Lucia for a trip to Pier 24 Photography. I don’t think I’d seen Breezy since I moved from Columbia years ago. We first met while we were in school together at the University of Missouri studying Fine Art Photography under the tutelage of Joe Johnson.

There was no professor that affected me in such a positive way as Joe. Until his courses I did not look at photography as anything but a hobby. I shot photos, over-processed them and found myself more worried about having the best equipment than making the best art.

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When I moved to San Francisco Joe told me that I had to go to Pier 24 Photography. He told me it was free, it was massive and inside I would find some of the most important photographs.

Pier 24 Photography is an exhibition space devoted to photography, which hosts rotating exhibitions and houses The Pilara Foundation Collection. Visitors experience an environment in which to view and quietly contemplate photography. By collaborating with photographers, educators, collectors and curators, we are able to share diverse ideas with the public. Through our partnerships with local institutions, we also work to advance the creation, scholarship and understanding of the photographic medium.

Somehow I managed to spend three years in San Francisco never making it to this free and incredible photography museum. If you’re in San Francisco, this is the first art museum you should think about visiting. Not only is it the largest photography museum in America, it is free, it only allows 20 people in at a time so it’s never crowded and the work they curate is out of this world stunning.

In addition to being a free museum visit with only a limited number of people allowed in at a time, they provide you with a beautifully printed book of all the featured work for just $10. I wish I could get a subscription to receive these books with each exhibition. The entire experience was beyond anything I ever expected and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to visit. Any future guests of mine to San Francisco who are into photography in the least will be taken to this museum.

Bay-Bridge-Pier-24-San-Francisco-Sqish

After the time at the museum Breezy and I took a few minutes to take pictures just outside of Pier 24. I took this photo which is actually a stitching of five photos into a single, almost square, image. I almost only ever have a 50mm lens on my Nikon D700, fitting the scene of this bridge into a single image would have been otherwise impossible.

How I Really Feel about Instagram

I am known in my circle of friends as the guy who hates Instagram. This isn’t really true, I don’t hate Instagram, I philosophically loathe it. That is to say, I don’t enjoy the way many people on Instagram treat the art of photography.

When I talk about Instagram I am often met with a rebuttal as strong as those over religion or politics. In the end we are all entitled to our beliefs. I have a feeling that a similar post as this was written by many film photographers when the first digital SLRs started hitting the market.

justex07-on-InstagramI’ll keep this brief but here is my gripe. People take ordinary photos, what we would call snapshots, what we would drop in a shoebox and forget about as quickly as we took them. These photos do not stand out like the ones we would put in a physical album, that we would pay to have printed or that we would submit to a gallery for showing. They are the epitome of disposable photography and there is nothing wrong with that.

What I have qualms with are people that elevate these toss-away photos to a level of importance not by context or content but by obscuring the banality and ordinary mundanity of the photo with a filter, sometimes to such a degree that the original content of the image is totally obfuscated. That is not art, that is glorified censorship. Continue reading

If a Blogger Doesn’t Blog, Does He Exist?

I’ve been on quite the blogging hiatus. My only excuse is that work has been busy but in reality, I’ve been busier and managed to write. I worry sometimes that I’m losing my passion for this blog. I’ll write reviews and articles and then let them site for weeks, even months.

Stunning San Francisco Sunset

I think when we last left off I was visiting New York City and Washington DC. There I had just an incredible time. I should thank so many people, Luis, Steven, Chemda, Lauren Hennessy, Ian, Scott, David, Joseph, Whitney, Rosa, Benjamin, Brandon, Landon, Dipal, Thomas, Anthony, Josh and Shannon, Bethany, Kramer, Justin, Lauren Reid, Andres and others. That will have to be a post all its own.

After that I went to Houston and Austin a few times. I even did a Houston Twitter Meetup (Tweetup). We had around twenty people show up and even earned ourselves a prank call from someone who called the restaurant where we were hosting the shindig. Huge thanks to Kristen for setting up the whole thing.

I hit up Florida again and had a wonderful time hanging out with Justin and Mike out there. Frank even let me crash in his room while he was out of town. Still haven’t met him! I even scored some time with Joey, who is visiting San Francisco soon along with Alexandra and Corey.

This weekend Ryan and I hosted around thirty friends over for hors d’oeuvre, wine and fondue. We had a blast and I think everyone else did as well. We love having friends over, sharing our home and chitchatting over drinks and fun food. Host Adjustable Wine Aerator and Esoterica Petite Syrah

We played around with a new wine gadget of mine. It’s the Host Adjustable Wine Aerator. It promises to age your wine through aeration simulating anywhere from less than 1 hour of aeration all the way to six hours of aeration. I am not one to trust wine gadgets but this one peeked my interest enough that I bought one from Kenneth Wingard.

But for what it’s worth, that is what has been going on. I hope to get out some reviews pretty soon. Here is a list of items on the list:

  • Bose QuiteComfort 15 noise canceling headphones
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50 studio headphones
  • Fiio E6 Headphone Amplifier
  • Das Keyboard Model S Pro
  • Enqueue
  • MEElectronics M6P headphones
  • ZAGGkeys PRO+ iPad keyboard case
  • ZAGG iPhone 5 bumper case
  • ZAGG ZR-Six in-ear headphones
  • ZAGG ZR-LE headphones
  • iFrogs Aura headphones
  • Host Adjustable Wine Aerator
  • Graze Healthy Snacks
  • NatureBox Healthy Snacks

So many things I have to review. I should do my best to try and do a review or two a week. In reality that should be totally doable. Let’s just hope I can commit myself to it.

I also have a post to write about Instagram. It’s actually a two-parter and it’s actually already done, I just need to re-work it. The first post is about Instagram and my thoughts on it. Most people understand me to hate the service and anyone who uses it. I mean to correct people. The second post is a belated in-depth piece about Instagram’s, and other web services’, use and user rights policies.

Eventually I’d like to get back to writing here daily, as I did for years. But let’s start with baby steps. I’m also working to be better at posting photos on my photo site, Justin Moore Scott. Photography is perhaps my greatest inanimate love. I have even recently purchased a handful of fantastic fine-art photography books.New Photography Books

I have a tendency of buying or receiving great photography books like this and then never taking them out of their cellophane wrapping. Maybe I’ll actually open a few of these up and find some inspiration to bring back the passion in my photography.

I suppose the only other thing that is notable enough for writing is that I started again the 4-Hour Body diet, aka slow-carb diet. This time I’m doing it with my friend Kevin. Since starting I’ve dropped over 5 pounds but this time around I’m not as worried about the weight as much as my muscle to fat ratio. So I’ll allow my weight to go up as long as I’m building muscle. Hopefully that will come as I’ve started personal training again. Sadly with a new trainer, my old one was amazing. I picked up a new one that didn’t work out but I have another new one that seems to be pretty awesome.

So there you go. You’re mostly caught up to date. Now I head to bed so I can wake up and be ready to have my body abused at the gym until I’m so weak, walking up the stairs is not unlike summiting Everest.

Skyward on the Golden Gate

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Rarely do you get to look straight up through the pylons in the middle of any bridge. This is especially true for the Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco. Between the rushing traffic and hundreds of tourists, it isn’t a good idea.

Looking up to the sky from the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Peering through the fog from the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

I lucked out the other day while driving from Wine Country with friends. We luckily got stuck in traffic for a few minutes giving me just enough time to shoot this through the sunroof.

This was perhaps the first time I felt the magic that is the Golden Gate Bridge.