Remember me talking about taking more photos to put in the A-Players posts? Well, it happened this week.
I've been on vacation with my family and girlfriend camping in the Mackinac Straits area of Michigan (my home state.)
For those not from here, Mackinac Island is a small island off the northern tip of the "mitten" part of the state, and is covered in equal parts with nature, historical structures, and touristy-junk-stores.
We've been enjoying the area for a couple days at this point, but yesterday was the day where we stormed the island and enjoyed the many things it had to offer.
We went biking around the perimeter.
Hiking up in the forests.
Ate some great food.
And I even found some decent coffee.
I've been surprised at the lack of quality coffee options on the mainland in Mackinac City. I tweeted yesterday that Mackinac Island has more quality coffee shops in the first block or so than the entirety of Mackinac City. And that's really all you need to know about Mackinac City.
This is also the first trip that I've gotten to take with my girlfriend; Anné. We've known each other for awhile now but having her come along with my family on a trip is something totally new for the both of us.
I think she's enjoyed it, even if my addict-like search for quality coffee is not one that she personally shares. I'm really glad she's gotten the chance to come, I've loved having her along.
It's been a great trip thus far, and while I have had a pretty nice time writing and reading from various scenic locations, my favorite parts have been spent with my family. Our trips are always a mix of goofy, tiring, fun, and gratifying. I don't know how many more of these trips we'll all be able to do together in the coming years, but this one has been exactly what I was hoping it would be. Filled with classic Bates weirdness, fun, and family.
Enough about me though, even though I've been away for most of this week I still managed to throw together some links for this week. I hope you guys enjoy.
How I Became an Artist — Medium - I don't usually spend much time reading on Medium, but early on this week I read this gem of a piece which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. I've been thinking more and more over the past several months about what it is I'm going to do after high school, how I'm going to do it, and how I'm going to get to a place where I even can do it. This piece follows a young artist from his early teenage years through college and then into full-on professional art. While I'm no painter it's heartening to see that you really can work your way as an artist in the world these days. I also appreciated that the author emphasized that while art school can be incredibly useful to help you learn and sharpen the skills you'll need as an artist, the actual degree and schooling itself is largely the means to an end. College has been something I'm grappling with planning towards as I go into my senior year of high school, and while I'm not sure what exactly my decision will be as to if or where I'll attend a university, it's nice to see an example of someone making it out there with hard work and talent. Maybe it's just me, but I loved this piece, and I'm really and truly glad the author decided to pen their story so that someone like me could feel a little bit of hope in a world that can make being yourself feel impossible.
I'm going independent — 512 Pixels - Following the theme I began with the last link, Stephen Hackett made a big announcement this Monday morning when he announced that he'd be leaving his "J.O.B. job" and going independent with Relay FM, 512 Pixels, and other freelancing efforts. Over the past year or two I've watched more and more of the people I follow online make the jump to supporting themselves with their life's creative work, and Stephen is the latest of the people who I look up to who's done so. I wish Stephen buckets of luck as he strikes out on his own, and as I'm currently attempting to put my own words out into the internet circle that I follow it's even more inspiring and exciting to see one of my favorite Internet creators take that step. Cheers Stephen. :)
The Art of Price and Value — Shawn Blanc - Finishing off the entrepreneurial theme for me this week, Shawn Blanc spoke on his blog towards the end of this week about the art (and inherent struggle) of balancing the Cost, Price, and Value of one's product. Shawn's a person I really look up to when I think about what I might like to do someday. He's a great writer, a successful entrepreneur, and he seems like a decent, family, guy to boot. He also thankfully isn't afraid to share some of his wisdom online, and articles like this one are really good to read both for the knowledge presented and the thoughts that knowledge provokes. For me, it made me think more about how I might implement a reader-respecting way to monetize my writing sometime down the line. I hope Shawn never stops writing about things like this, and regardless of if you're launching a product or not I think Shawn's piece is a solid read.
The Fuji X100T — Tools and Toys - Marius Masalar's debut on Tools and Toys this week was a great one, as he reviewed the well-known FujiFilm x100t camera for the site. While the review carries all the quality trappings of any other great camera review, I really appreciated Marius's focus on expressing how the Fuji was much more a tool for those who are focused on the content coming out of the camera, not the camera's internals. I've shot with a Fuji x100s for a little over a year now and I have to agree; these cameras are photographer's tools that fall right into place in your hands and under your fingertips. And once you've gotten used to how the Fuji shoots it's a breeze to just keep at it. No muss, no fuss, no pixel-peeping or L-lensing. Perfect.
Learning to work with models in photography - Analog Senses - While I'm quite familiar with Fuji cameras, Álvaro Serrano put out a piece in unexplored territory for me this week; Portrait photography. More specifically, model shoots. I've experimented with portraits in the past couple years, but it's not something I'd call a strong suit of mine. Álvaro goes through the basics and details of getting used to model-shoots, and gives plenty of informative tips that I'm sure I'll find myself coming back to reference. Maybe someday I'll try out shooting a model, and if I do I know what piece I'll be reading to help prepare me for the experience. Thanks Álvaro :)
- Argentina On Two Steaks A Day (Idle Words) - Something I was aiming to do this week was to branch out a bit from my normal circle of blogs and newsfeeds that I subscribe to and get a little variety in what I was consuming. This week, that came in the form of a giant steak plopping into my Instapaper Queue, and along with it an excellent read by Pinboard creator Maciej Ceglowski about Argentinian food culture; specifically their practice of eating a steak at lunch, and another at dinner. This piece was a breath of fresh air in my week, and I'd forgotten how much fun it can be to read travel-log pieces sometimes. Even if you're not that into eating steak yourself (I'm not, and I still enjoyed the piece) I'd say the read is worth your while. Let it break you out of the normalcy of blogs and feeds, it can feel pretty relaxing if you let it. ;)
And that's all folks! I'll be back to my usual haunts by Monday, and back to work on a couple big projects coming up both for this site and others. I don't know how many of you out there really read these pieces, but I'd love to hear what you think about the little changes I've made to the formula over time, and feedback is always welcome.
With that all said, I hope you all have excellent weeks, I'll see you back here this time next Saturday.