Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hello, an update.

Click, click, click, click.
Hi. Where has the time gone? My mother and I spent 12 days in Japan during April, i.e. six weeks ago, and I haven't written one word about it. I've got so much to tell you about but so far, nothing typed up. Why the writer's block? Work is pretty intense. I don't have much mental energy left to spare when I get home every night. My freelance job has been steady, too. I also started a college course on Technical Writing and Analysis. It's useful stuff for my job and for my freelance tech editing work but my gosh, the subject is dry and there are lots of assignments. Plus, I've been trying to catch some of Toronto's elusive spring weather. We go from snow boots to sandals so fast in this town (no exaggeration: it snowed on May 12th and it was 26°C on the 20th). Most of all, though, the writer's block comes from the knowledge that I have to sort and edit hundreds of photos from the trip before I'm ready to write. 

Actually, there's a bit of a story there. Earlier this year, I was thinking that I'd like to upgrade my camera to a DSLR before travelling to Japan but money was a concern. Then, out of nowhere, I was contacted by a PR company based in London. They wanted to purchase one-time use rights to four of my photos for a press release. Up until recently, I was meticulous about tagging, mapping and sharing my photos via Flickr and that is how various people have found me and made offers to buy photos. I didn't want to sell the full rights to these photos but one-time use was not a problem. So I got money out of the blue from my photography hobby just when I was considering spending on that same hobby. Yes, I bought a new camera and I had a little money left over, too.

I'd been comparing DSLR cameras in preparation for a purchase but in the end, I bought a mirrorless, interchangeable lens Sony NEX 5. My cousin, who knows his photography, has the same camera and recommended it highly based on image quality. For me, it came down to the difference in size and weight. So often, I didn't bring my better camera along with me on outings because it is heavy and bulky. The NEX 5 is light and easy to handle. I can see bringing it along in my purse when I might have left a DSLR at home. It also worked out that a photographer friend of mine was looking to sell his used Sony NEX 5 - his model is a couple of years older so I'm missing out on a few features like touchscreen focusing and downloadable apps but I got a good deal on the camera body, two lenses and a lens adapter. One cool thing is that two of my dad's old lenses work on this camera, too.

After all that, I made the classic blunder of not fully learning how to use my new camera before the trip. We had great weather for most of our time in Japan but that meant conditions of blazing sunlight. I ended up with lots of overexposed photos. This summer, I've got to figure out how to photograph on sunny days.

I do truly want to be a better blogger. I've been at this for almost ten years and I know I can improve if I just make the effort. So, I am doing something to get myself excited about blogging again: next weekend is the TBEX conference, "the world's largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators".  It's right here in Toronto and I'm going! There are going to be 1,200 travel bloggers attending, which I can hardly believe. There will be people who make their living travel blogging and much of the TBEX content is geared to these pros but I presume there will be some hobby bloggers like me, too. It will be out of my comfort zone for sure but I'm going to attend parties and do my best to mingle with 1,200 strangers. The seminars should be good, too. I hope to refresh my ideas and my inspiration.

Join me at TBEX

PS: This site has a new, very green design thanks to 'The Dandelion Girl' on Etsy. Because of the new wider layout, I will need to work backwards to make the photos larger in all my older posts.

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