Less is more

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Why do I like Instagram?

This is the question I asked myself yesterday again and again. The answer: Via Instagram I feel connected with the yoga community. There are yoginis who create challenges that last for 10 days till a month. Yoginis shall post a different asana every day. These pictures are published with a hashtag. This allows to see all the pictures of asanas from yoginis who do this challenge. This is really much fun. A lot of communication is going on. These challenges allow to connect with other yoginis worldwide. Some post pictures, others videos. The variety amazes me. I practice yoga at home these days. Via Instagram I feel connected to the international yoga community. I don't want to miss this.

I also love the vegan people on Instagram. I subscribed to many accounts and enjoy to see the delicious food the cooks prepare. One can find a lot of creative people in the kitchen these days. Yet one cannot do more than liking the pictures. One can also comment, but that's it.

I'll keep my Instagram account and I'll use it actively. The party is on Instagram these days. It's the first page that I check in the morning after having checked my Emails. 

My  steps to improve my Instagram account were:

1. I deleted all the remaining food pictures and landscape pictures. I also found a lonesome flower, a beautiful one. It looked lost between all these yoga pictures. What does this flower here, I wondered?

2. Instagram loves the square format. For aesthetic reasons I deleted all the pictures that cut body parts because I had used a landscape format. Who clicks on the picture to see it fully? To make things easy is the goal. When going through my account the main subject in the picture should be seen fully without clicking on the picture. 

3. I deleted a lot of pictures that were too lousy.  

5. The profile picture is now a yoga pose too. At first sight one can realize that this account is on yoga.

6. I changed the text. I didn't mention anymore that I'm a photographer. The pictures that I publish on Instagram have not so much to do with my photography activities. They show my yoga skills not my skills as a photographer.

It's recommended to publish every day at least one picture. I always thinK: quality over quantity. 

I'm looking forward to the next yoga challenge that starts in September. 

 

Feed back on my Instagram account is wellcomed.

Repost on Instagram

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In September I'll be part of a yoga challenge created by a fellow yogini. Many yoginis will post every day a suggested asana. One can see pictures of yogis and yoginis around the globe practicing the same asana. This is a lot of fun. The creator suggested to repost her asana suggestions. 

How to repost this picture, I wondered and opened YouTube to find an answer. 

1. First I saved the picture on my Instagram page. 

2. I needed an App that I could download from Google play. It's free. I entered 'repost' and got offers. There are solutions for Android and for iPhones. 

3. The app led me through the process of reposting this picture. 

I did it. I reposted my first picture yesterday. Learning never stops. 

 

 

First step: delete

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1. It seems to be common sense: People who follow an account want to get a clear message. It's highly recommended to post pictures of yoga or travel or portraits or food. But everything in one account is too confusing for the subscribers. Yesterday I decided that my Instagram account is dedicated to my yoga practice. The rest had to go. 

I can organize and publish my travel pictures on flickr. The albums that one can create on flickr are a very useful tool. Who is interested in my trips anyway. 

My first Instagram account is now my yoga picture account. It won't substitute www.my-yoga-blog.blogspot.com. 

Many many pictures had to go yesterday. Not every shot was a master piece. Especially in the beginning I had to find a purpose for this account. I learned how to use my phone as a camera. 

There are still some food pictures and pictures with other contents on that Instagram page, but not much and only 3 in a row. The eye needs a break from time to time. Me too, I don't practice on Saturdays usually, I need a break from time to time. To have an endless line of yoga pictures can be tiring. The breaks are so necessary. Yet if someone stumbles over my Instagram account it's clear now: here posts a passionate yogini, someone who thinks 99% in her life about asanas......lol. 

2. In addition I upgraded my account to a business account. The advantage: Instagram delivers insights on the traffic on that page i.e.. 

3. I also added some more hashtags to some of the pictures. I used to be too lazy in the past. Yet hashtags are such a huge topic, it deserves an extra post. 

Result:

Subscribers yesterday: 227

Subscribers today: 234 (that is plus 9 - olala)

Instagram

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The party is on Instagram these days.

Last week I realized that a  photographer with 61.000 followers on flickr deleted this account there, yet the Instagram account is updated and lively. The photography community and all other communities moved. 

From time to time I reflect on how I spend my time and what I do online. Because everybody with 2 legs is on Instagram, it's most interesting there. Oh, not only creature with 2 legs are on Instagram and present themselves there, some have 4 legs. I think of Choupette Lagerfeld. It's entertaining to see all the pictures. Some famous social media sites became lost places. 

In the meantime books are on the market how to use Instagram. There is always something new to learn. By now I publish pictures. Many publish videos already, which is very nice, too. Downtime doesn't exist.

When I started with Instagram I was told that one can publish only pictures taken by a phone.  There are ways to publish pictures taken by a real camera. Via Dropbox i.e. one can upload the pictures on Instagram. 

In the beginning I published everything: Landscapes, food, yoga pictures, things. Soon this page looked like a storage room with everything in it. 

There are so many pages that allows me to publish my portraits or studies on color or animals. My Instagram account is for yoga. I'll focus on that topic. 

Today is August, 21. and I have 227 followers, I follow 659 people or companies. Let's see how many followers I'll have at the end of the year. I'm curious what this focus brings......

Photo marathon Munich 2018

Yesterday I went to the photo marathon 2018 in Munich. It deserves the word marathon. At the end I realized that I took 21.000 steps. I had put on my most comfortable shoes, yet in the evening my feet hurt slightly. Within a time frame of 8 hours we should take 12 pictures. We got first the main topic with 6 sub-topics. At 3 pm we got the last 6 sub-topics. 

The photo marathon was created from some New Yorkers. In the meantime photo marathons exists in many countries and cities of this globe.

The main topic in Munich in 2018 was: Opposites attract. 

The sub themes were:

1. Calmness and movement

2. Dry and wet

3. Truth and illusion

4. Brightness and darkness

5. Fun and boredem

6. Hard and soft

7. Hot and mild

8. Good and evil

9. Captured and free

10. Hot and cold

11. Scared and courageous

12. Misfortune and luck

Buhhhhhhhhh. 

This was a challenge. To show these opposites in one picture was not always easy. 

When I picked up the last topics I realized that some of my pictures were taken in raw. This would have disqualified myself. I had to find a possibility to convert them.  I found out that the camera allows me to convert raw pictures into JPEG. I was relieved.  Such events soar the learning curve. The first 10 winners get really hot prizes. First prize is a very good camera. I'd like to win one of the lenses. The prizes motivated me and gave me energy during these 8 hours.

On time I could deliver my 12 pictures, all in JPEG, all in landscape format and color. I used one lens, even though I had others in my handbag. One of the unspoken goals of this exercise is to create a coherent series. 

Yesterday it rained. The light was perfect with all the grey clouds. The difficulty was that I had to carry in addition to my tripod, my heavy bag, my camera also my umbrella. It was doable.

At the end we got a certificate. The participants got attested stamina and creativity. 

Happy and exhausted I went home. 

PS: The pictures will be published later.

 

On explore

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In the morning I woke up and realized that one of my pictures that I had uploaded on flickr, got a lot of 'likes'. This happens when flickr picks a picture and uploads it on the page 'on explore'.  This picture is taken in Hamburg. It was a cold and sunny day. I loved the reflections of the houses on the water. 

At night we walked home from a restaurant. It was freezing cold, because the it was cold and wet. This gives the impression that it's colder than it is. The freshness goes through the entire body. 

Create series, whenever possible

A series of pictures is much more than one picture plus another picture plus another picture. To create series helps to develop the own style. A series is supposed to be congruent. Instagram pushed me forward. The page looks so much more beautiful if minimum 3 pictures fit together. 

The above pictures are taken in Hamburg, Germany on a cold, but sunny day. I loved the reflections of the ships and the houses on the water. 

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How huge shall the pictures be?

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This is indeed the question that one has to answer for oneself. If a picture shall be published on the web only it doesn't matter. Yet as soon as one has a print in mind this question is important from the beginning on. 

The print companies want to know the size in addition.

Not every picture looks great super blown up. The size of a postcard might be a bit modest. 

When starting a picture series this question must be answered before taking the pictures. It's easy to create a canvas in Photoshop. This is then the frame. Within a series not every picture should have another size. They must fit together. 

If one doesn't answer the question in the beginning the issues come in the end. Either one has to cut the picture later or there will be a white frame around it. 

Sizes are also a matter of taste. Some like the square format. It became very popular. Some picture require a portrait format others a landscape format. A classic format is also the Hollywood format. 

The size of a picture is not something that shall happen accidentally. 

The above picture is 20 x 25 cm. 

 

 

Queen size

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Clothes become bigger and bigger, bathtubs are huge. Plates have double the size than decades ago. The cars get bigger. The cameras get heavier. 

Travel light.

Small is beautiful. 

 

Going all the way by Charles Bukowski

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

Otherwise, don’t even start.

If you're going to try, go all the way.

This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe even your mind.

It could mean not eating for three or four days.

It could mean freezing on a park bench.

It could mean jail.

It could mean derision, mockery, isolation.

Isolation is the gift.

All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.

And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.

And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

There is no other feeling like that.

You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.

DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. All the way

You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

This poem by Charles Bukowski is so inspiring for artists. I will learn it by heart. To recite poems when in doubt or when not motivated is the right medication. Go all the way......

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Going all the way can mean so much. It can mean to finish a project. It can mean to do the next tiny step. It can mean to become creative to solve issues. 

On the first day of this year I went out for a walk. The plan was to take a picture of myself. When I was ready I realized that I had forgotten an important gadget. I went home again and went to that special destination of my choice. I tried again. It didn't work and finally I used the self-timer in the camera. Go all the way, I thought with freezing hands. Go all the way. I was happy with the result. I was so close to give up for that day. This poem gave me so much energy and guidance. This poem shall accompany me like a good friend with a precious advice. 

Fireworks

Fireworks

If the first series of pictures are not convincing, it can only get better during the year. 

It's an art to take pictures of fireworks. It's an exercise with long exposure. A tripod is necessary and a remote control is recommended to get focused picture. 

It rained at midnight. I feared that my camera would get wet. My E held an umbrella above me and my camera soon. I had to take care not to get injured. These fireworks don't convince me in general. I can also imagine a ritual at midnight that is silent. What if we would all meditate around the globe for 10 minutes instead of faking war around the globe?

I also missed sun rise. I was told that it had rained in the morning and that there was no sun. But the sun rises always in the morning, also when it's not shining. Sometimes it's a grey sunrise. Not always the sky is fire red in the morning. 

New year, new luck. All the best for everybody. 

 

 

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The Domain

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High level domains are those with the suffix .com. I bought such a domain. It was luck that I could get one with my own name. I also had no other idea. The domain name should be easy, without special signs. This was my condition. The companies where I wanted to publish my website offered me domain names. 

The own name has a huge advantage. If the activities of the own company change, the name can  still stay the same. I know photographers who had the name wedding in the domain name. Then they developed in an other direction and offered portraits. That meant that the owner of the company had to start with another company name, too. Everything else would be misleading. That means to start from scratch again. 

Many companies are named after the owner i.e. Calvin Klein (fashion). Some names are so complicated that it's better to invent another name. An example is Calvin Hollywood (photographer). Many names that have nothing to do with the own name are taken already.  Who knows that Mango sells clothes? The name should be appropriate to use in international context. One can philosophize endlessly. One can agonize about this topic. 

I so understand that one wants to hide behind a company name that has nothing to do with the own name. I had no idea behind which name I could hide myself. So my name became my domain name, and therefore the name of my website. 

Important for me was:

1. to find a name that is simple with no special signs and not too long.

2. It should be appropriate to use also in international context.

3. Of course the name must be available. Whois.com is a website that allows to search if a name is still available or taken already. 

I also bought domain names with my name and different suffix like .de, .org, .info over the last decade. Do I really need these additional domains? I don't know. Nice to have. It costs something every year, but it's affordable. Nevertheless, I don't want to have anything that I don't need. The last word is not yet spoken here. 

During my researches on domain names, I found out that there are people who make money with domain names. They buy and sell them. Domain names are even called online real estate. What a business idea. 

The reason why I had to reflect on my domain names again was, because I moved my website from wordpress to squarespace. I was never happy with wordpress, I found it too complicated. Wordpress is the market leader. The concept is to work with plug-ins, that are produced by other companies but wordpress. This makes this side unsafe, I was told by a web designer. When I moved from wordpress to squarespace I wanted to use my domain name with the suffix .com. This is possible, but it was very difficult to manage this. I contacted the support of wordpress. First they sent me links, but I had read them already. Finally I found someone who helped me to move my domain name to Squarespace. This all took minimum 2 days. Correspondence went back and forth. I wrote to different persons. Each time when I got an Email from them it was someone else. Finally ONE person helped me. The move of my domain name is done now. Halleluja. Where is the next horse to ride.

My first book

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The story:

I searched and searched and I got desperate and even more desperate. This cannot be that I have taken more than 50.000 pictures and that I don't find a single picture that I really like to print. I guess it's rather a matter of how I organize my pictures. There must be treasuries, but where. On flickr I usually post the best of..... Going through my work there I had the idea to create a book. 

Printing: 

One must print. This is a very important next step if one wants to develop as a photographer. Pictures that are online have a life period of under one second if they are on Instagram with an often used hashtag i.e.. Printing forces to work precisely.  To live with the own work helps to redefine the own style. It's also the fruit of the work. 

The starting point of my life as a photographer:

How deep should I dive into the past? Today the year 2000 seems like the Middle Age. So I went back till the year 2013. Also in 2013 I have taken a lot of pictures. I decided to connect the year 2013 with my first group project. We met via Facebook. We formed a group of about 15 women, all very passionate about photography. Every week another women gave a topic. This was the strength and the weakness of this group. The interests and therefore also the topics were so differently, that I cannot find a read thread in my 52 pictures. On the other hand to get out of the comfort zone can be a good experience, too. Why not taking pictures of landscapes as an exercise? An other example: One week we had the topic to take a picture with a mobile phone. I had no mobile phone and was very reluctant to get another gadget. But I wanted to finish this project and a few months later I had a mobile phone. It allowed me to complete the series of 52 pictures. It#s one of my best pictures in this series.

It's always amazing how much knowledge a group of 15 people have if they share it. I learned from another photo shop in Munich. Wee had a lot of fun and praised each other a lot. 

The first book:

One evening I sat here and thought that I should do something more profound with that project. Just to have it in a folder in Flickr shouldn't be enough. It took me another month till I decided to make a book out of it. Flickr works together with blurb.com. So I created a book with these software tools. I spent organizing the pictures, I wrote the contents in the last pages of the book and I clicked on sent. 

A few days later the book was in my mailbox. I ripped the package and couldn't wait to have this book in my hands. It's of very high quality. It became a true art book. I only wanted to have a picture on one page, the other page should be untouched. This looks very generous and precious. I went for a grey background. Wow, I loved the result. 

In the evening of that day we went out for dinner. Before the Miso soup arrived, I showed  the book to my husband. He looked at every picture. He turned one page after the other without being in a hurry. To show a book is something else than to show pictures on a mobile phone. 

To go through the process of creating a book gave me a lot of insights. It became rather simple to create it and even to publish a book is no more that difficult. It's fun. 

For me my photographic life of the year 2013 is connected with this project. With this book I hold a piece of reality in my hands. It's motivating. I celebrate this event. 

There are still a few pictures in that book that I still love. Most pictures I wouldn't even publish anymore. But this is not that important. In 2013 life was different. I loved to see how much I had learned within 4 years. Each picture was an important tiny step.