things

Things

While I wasn’t sure if I could pull off another holiday gift idea guide, here we are, a little late into the season but I found a few nice things none the less. I do my best to find things that are not already posted in every other holiday gift guide online. Like last years list these are things that I personally enjoy or would enjoy having around myself based on my own random standards. I have written up a little bit about each thing on the list and included links to either the company that makes the item, or a nice webshop that sells it. No affiliate links here, just sharing the joy.

My previous two guides are still just as fun and relevant as ever and can be found here and here. Follow the link below for this years ideas.

(more…)

ice

The Budget Hotel

From time to time I write something in Day One that I feel others may enjoy. This past weekend after a five day work run out of town I found myself driving south toward home knowing I wouldn’t make it all the way without falling asleep at the wheel so I started keeping an eye out for a hotel and thankfully just as I was having to shake off the exhaustion settling in, I found one. Below you will find the entry from the following morning, in two parts:

Late last night I stopped in an odd little motel simply called “Budget Inn” on the way back from a simple gig at a Frat party for an 80’s cover band. I came across a strip of hotels on a small highway in the middle of VA at around 3:30am and figured I should stop rather than risk an all night drive home. I checked in and blacked out after posting a photo of the room to YWO. This motel is the kind of motel you would start a meth lab in, or discover a weird murder in, or hide from the police. It’s the sort of place that you would imagine affairs took place and roaches secretly infest somewhere just out of sight. The skunk like stink from too many cigarettes burning through. But, it is what it is, and I for one am thankful for it because it was the only place around without a “NO” in front of the neon vacancy sign so here I am, well(isn) rested and ready to get out of here.

key

20 minutes later… Well, judge not… said someone, somewhere. I leave the room and realized that I actually slept quite well and remembered waking up noticing how firm the mattress was where as most of these types of motels are notorious for having the worst mattresses you could imagine. Ones which leave you sinking down to the floor and waking up with a curved spine. Anyway, as I walk toward reception to check out I have a flashback of the messy haired man who checked me in through a tiny plexiglass window late last night after ringing his bell a couple of times. Clearly I woke him and I remembered feeling a bit guilty about it. I step into the office and immediately get a kick back to my time spent in India. The room smells of Indian Spices, subtle but there, stuck to the walls like the stale cigarette smoke from the room the night before yet clearly a much more favorable experience. The same man walks out well composed this time and I recognize he is an older Indian man. Easier to recognize without jaded, sleep deprived eyes and a desperation to find a bed to sleep in.

With a little smile and a tilted head he asks if everything was ok and if I was checking out. “Yes, and yes, time to head back home,” I said with a smile. I thanked him and left the room. On the way out of the office to the van a cleaning man speaks up and asks, “did you sleep well?.” “Yep, sure did!,” I replied. He then goes on to tell me that many of the rooms had brand new mattresses in them. Which explains the more comfortable than I expected night of sleep I managed to get as well as the old mattresses leaning up against the outside of the motel which I had hastily assumed were ruined from a night gone wrong.

I have no idea why my mind was wading in such pessimism late last night. This constant stream of work and time away from home must have been getting to me. I am thankful though, to have had a reminder that even in shady places in the middle of nowhere USA, there is kindness and a certain level of acceptance that comes with the territory. Not all of us travel, not all of us have lofty ambitions and websites and iPads. Sometimes a slowly eroding motel in the middle of nowhere is more than enough and I for one am thankful I stopped through last night. Oddly enough, it has left me with a renewed sense of creativity and purpose. It’s so easy to loose sight of the simple pleasures and misstep in your assumption of others around you.

So, sitting here outside at a picnic table on this cool fall morning, watching locals mumble through their late morning at a gas station nearby, I’m sipping on bad coffee and watching a steady stream of large pickup trucks and boots with suits fresh from church filter in and out. There is a real beauty hiding here in the honesty of this moment and I plan on taking full advantage of it.

hanger

That Time Of Year

It’s that time of year again, for many of us, to share time and wonderful things with loved ones. In recent years I have grown fond of finding unique gifts for friends and family. Functional but fun, things that they may have not thought about or even knew existed prior to receiving them. Whats the fun in buying something for someone if they know exactly what it is they would be getting? Part of the joy is discovering something great and taking a chance on striking a note of joy in the surprise of getting something unique and thoughtful. Last year I had fun making a list of interesting gift ideas and while there are probably a million suggestions out there already I thought I would toss in a few of my own again this year. Seeing as nearly every christmas gift guide I come across online is full of exactly the same gadgety stuff I thought I would try to dig a little deeper with a few of these ideas. Feel free to suggest something in the comments below, I will add things if I find anything else interesting.

Oddly enough I found myself straying away from photography gear, the world has enough of it as far as I am concerned. Outside of a camera, and a good lens what else does a photographer really need? You can have a peak at my list from last year which has a few more photo centric ideas. I did toss in one idea related to photography but well get to that in a bit. This is not some amazon kickback link filled junk article written for clicks, I have no affiliation with anything here and none of the links are affiliate links. This is just a list of stuff I thought would make a great gift for just about anyone. Photos were pulled either from online shops or a google search, sorry for the random size and consistency there. Of course many of the shops I link to are US based, most of these products can be found elsewhere in the world as well. Follow the Read more link to get to the list.

(more…)

Sunset

The night of the wedding we were given a large three room suite as part of the wedding package high up on the 23rd floor. The view overlooked Seoul and what was forecast as a rainy day a few days beforehand ended up being a beautiful afternoon.

We had all of our friends over to the suite after the wedding for wine and finger food. As the sun began to set the many photographers, including YoungDoo and I, in attendance were all glued to the windows as an epic sunset rolled across the city below.

Time slowed and the sun and buildings seemed to sing to us. Even as the sun dipped behind the edge of the horizon the world seemed to be putting on a show just for those of us in that room. Lights around the city started to slowly trickle into existence and subtly mimicked the few stars in the sky that crept through the cities impeding glow.

One by one the guests started to leave until it was just the two of us alone among empty plates and wine bottles. Everything seemed so very quiet and at once I felt a calm fall down onto me and I knew something great had just taken place, something we would not soon forget.

Night fell deeper, the city grew quiet as a bitter cold wind started to echo through the streets yet I put my mind at ease because I knew that from that day forward, no wind would ever feel quite as cold, no room would be as empty, and my heart would, from that day on, have nothing left to fear.

Sorry, no desktop this time. I was posting this photo to flickr simply for the sake of sharing something new and as I looked at it before making it public some thoughts started to come to mind so I started to write the above. I was laying around here in our room and decided it may be nice to share it here as well because I know not everyone follows along on flickr and its something I wanted to share. Just a memory that was brought back to me through this photograph. I love that about photography. Its power to rekindle memories is uncanny and I am thankful to have the ability to capture things within my life this way. I don’t often get too sentimental here on 50ft but I figured why not share a little bit of the joy I felt that day with all of you.

xmas

All I Want For Christmas

It’s that time of the year again and many out there are scratching their heads trying to decide what to get a friend or family member for Christmas. Of course most of us seem to hint heavily at something specific I like to think that a good surprise is still alive and well within the gift giving spirit. I don’t particularly like the crazed rush and pressure that comes with the holidays but I do enjoy sharing and gift giving so I thought it would be fun to assemble a photographer biased list of things to consider when looking for that special something. I did my best to avoid anything too horribly obvious and included a number of fun film cameras.

Gordy’s Camera Strap

This guy makes amazing leather camera straps which are great for smaller and larger cameras alike. There are a number of options such as color and more or less padding to choose from and each strap is hand made and of the highest quality you could imagine a simple strap like this having. I bought one for my Olympus OM SLR and love it, its strong enough to leave the camera hanging from your wrist without worry when you need both hands and keeps your camera steady and safe otherwise. I love a good, high quality hand made product and this is one that excels. There is plenty of info on his site on different options and sizes.

Souldier Seat Belt Camera Strap

For those who may be a bit more traditional about their camera strap, these straps from Souldier are the best around. Sturdy, dependable and gorgeous. They come in 23 different colors so you have a lot of unique options and they are also all made to order in Chicago. There is also an option to add padding in the middle which is handy because it does keep it from being too slippery. The padding is not very pretty though as it is a simple grey foam like material. I enjoy having it there but others may like the smoothness of not having any padding. I have used a red one for years now it seems and always get questions and compliments on it. It has been one of my favorite accessories and the perfect step up for any photographer wanting to ditch that ugly branded default strap.

SuperHeads Wide and Slim Camera

These are cheap and a lot of fun to have around YoungDoo has been shooting with one for a good while now and I am always impressed with the results. It is about as simply as you can get, go out on a sunny day, point, and shoot. Load it up with any random film you can get your hands on and enjoy. If you know someone that enjoys playing around with different cameras this is a perfect new toy. The results offer a slightly distorted, wide angle effect as well as a nice contrasty, vignetted image. They come in a variety of colors so you can pick just the right one for the person you are gifting it too. A fun alternative to one of these would be a Juice Box Camera, seems childish but its super inconspicuous and a lot of fun to mess around with.

Lomo LCA+

Sure, its not the cheapest gift at $250 but these are among the best all, point and shoot film cameras out there. I think they have been given a weird reputation because of its hipster “lomography” upbringing but they have been around forever and for good reason. The results are vivid and unique and I think its a great way to get into shooting with film because it offers something different from a camera offering clean or tidy results all the time. I find that it does take a little getting used to the quirks of the camera but once you get the hang of it it can be a realy satisfying little camera to have around. I think this would make for an unexpectedly fun gift for any open minded photographer. Have a look at some of the great images taken with these cameras on flickr.

Gakkenflex

These can be a challenge but offer a fun, do it yourself, camera kit. They use 35mm film and offer a cool experience when putting them together as you see exactly how the camera functions. The photographic results are a mixed bag but you can get some cool images from it if you stick with it. Being a fixed shutter speed and aperture its another sunny day camera but its more for the experience I think, and this offers a great one. The original kit came packaged with a Japanese magazine and the instructions are all in Japanese but there are many guides online to help you out. Alternatively, you can get one with english instructions and different color options because a new company started to manufacture them again once they gained a cult like following, here.

Sunprints Cyanotype Cotton Squares

This would make a great gift for just about anyone. They are cotton fabric squares treated with a cyanotype solution which allows you to lay one of the squares out in the sun and place opbjects on top of it which will create an image based on the shadow that is cast onto the square. You then simply rinse the square in water and the image will be on the fabric permanantly. It is a lot of fun and I think it would be a fantastic gift for children or anyone who enjoys experementing a bit. I love messing about with these. There are different sizes and even colors available as well as simple paper versions which cost a bit less.

Zero Image 35mm Pinhole Camera

Know a photographer that likes to try new things? There is nothing more classic than a pinhole film camera and this is a great one. With its classic wooden body and brass knobs it’s a beauty and would be a great addition to any camera collection not to mention a lot of fun to use.

Ari Marcopoulos Camera Bag

As many of you know already from my glowing review, I love this camera bag and feel it would be a great choice as a gift for any photographer not using a huge amount of gear. Keep in mind my note within my review about it maybe not being the best for someone with a smaller physical build. Otherwise you can’t go wrong with this fantastic bag.

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

While I don’t shoot with one of these I do think it would make for a nice gift to any photographer doing portrait work or simple commercial work. I have had my eye on one for quite some time now because I think it could be a quick, useful tool while out shooting to quickly get a handle on the white balance in post for those times when I want that extra bit of control and support. It’s a simple gadget that is portable and easy to use. You simply take a photo of the device before or during a shoot and use that shot as a quick refference tool to grab the perfect white balance for the situation at hand. Great for someone you know spends a bit too much time in post messing around with their white balances for every single photo.

Gossen DigiSix Light Meter

This is my favorite portable light meter. Simple and stuffed full of abilities for its size and price, it’s a great option for anyone looking to get into using an older manual camera or those who want to experement and have a tighter control over their exposures. The one thing that is a bit annoying about it is that there is no ‘off’ so the buttons get pressed while in my bag. The battery lasts what seems like forever so its not that big of a deal and the good totally outweighs this one quirk.

LensPen

If there is a photographer out there without one of these in their camera bag I have to question their sanity. Simple and cheap.

Soft Release Shutter Button

When you grip your camera to take a photo it can be more of a natural feel to let the shutter button rest on the first joint of your finger rather than bending your finger to point down onto the shutter release button. A soft release is a simple screw on button designed to give extra height to the shutter release and in turn let you hold your camera more naturally. This leads to you being able to hold your camera in a steadier position letting you keep still at slower shutter speeds. I love them and use one on my older cameras which have a threded screw mount on the shutter release. So for anyone you know using a camera with a screw mount release these make a great addition. There is a handy list on the site that they originate from telling you which cameras work best with which release button. They are also available here which I have ordered from a few times, a great guy runs the site.

Film Travel Case

I bought a few of these earlier this year and I love them, they are a great way to transport film. Both 35mm (without its original canister) and 120 film will fit. There is room for 6 rolls of 35mm or 4 rolls of 120 film, the only downside of the 35mm ability is that you really need to keep a full 6 rolls of film inside so they dont rattle around loosely inside. I still feel its a great accesory for anyone shooting film often and they are currently listed as clearance so they may not be available for much longer!

Round Corner Cut Punch

Seems a bit of an odd thing to add to the list but I think its cool. A simple round corner cutter that allows you to give paper a rounded corner. I love putting round corners on printed photos, it gives them sort of a vintage feel. Also useful for postcards or anything really.

A 35mm Film SLR

There are hundreds available on eBay as buy it now right around $100-200 with a simple 50mm lens. You just use your best intuition as far as which one you buy based on photos (make sure they are nice high quality images of the product), Seller feedback score, and an honest item description. I could easily suggest  an Olympus OM2 based on my own great experience, its a great sturdy camera and surprisingly compact for being an SLR. There are other classic options as well such as a Canon AE-1 or Nikon FM-2 which would give the photographer getting it the option of using the lens on their current DSLR should they already use a Nikon. Shooting with a film SLR is a quintessential experience for anyone wanting to call themselves a photographer.

If you have any suggestions for something photography related that is fun or interesting, feel free to leave any ideas in the comments below. Also, due to a number of requests, I have made the image above available as a wallpaper, see links below.

art of listening

The Art Of Listening

When was the last time you sat or laid down to listen to an album all the way through, start to finish? Just you, the music, the environment you are in, and maybe a significant other. Could be an older album that you have heard a million times before or a new one where your ears and mind come in fresh, ready to explore. I asked this question over on Twitter earlier today and had mixed responses. Many have never done this while others could not remember the last time they have. It is an experience that requires a few simple things, a love for music, a little patience, and time.

Many people seem to think it is unreasonable to do something like this because of the amount of time it takes to devote to the process. Odd thing is that most of us wouldn’t think twice when deciding to watch a two hour film yet when asked to devote 45 minutes to an hour with a collection of songs it seems like a far fetched notion, a waste of valuable time.

A good album can read like a book if you let yourself fall in. Just like reading a new book there is sometimes that little bit of hesitance within the first few chapters, your’e not sure if this will be worth your time when you get started and you let yourself get distracted or anxious. I feel focusing your attention to music without doing other things at the same time is akin to meditation. To many it would seem it is seen as simply white noise to fill the silence while they work and play. Even if you have your favorite songs that you listen to countless times over there is still something magic about letting yourself exist purely with the music and nothing else.

When I give myself time in the morning or evening to simply lay down and listen to music I catch myself getting lost in the words or nuances of a recording. Other times I find I am staring off into the sky lost in a memory or an idea. It gives me a chance to slow down and get lost in my own mind rather than having my hand be held as I am guided through a story and instructed how to feel as movies or books often do.

Music allows you to be anything, it gives you the chance to clear your mind and let your thoughts guide you to a place not often visited within the fast moving world around us. If you give yourself an empty palate within your mind the music will fill it with color and emotion. If you allow yourself to get lost from time to time you will quickly start to discover ideas and memories once forgotten or create new ones in the process.

Here in lies the beautiful part of the idea. Take a moment here to consider the last time you gave yourself a few minutes to simply exist with no distractions. Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking we have while in reality it seems a lost art. The art of doing nothing. It can seem to be a bit of a zen idea, sure, but I believe we could all use a few zen moments in our busy lives. I do realize that things change, and maybe for some of us there really is no time in today’s world for admiring music in this way but that idea makes me kind of sad to imagine.

Music can be an experience just like any other form of art or meditation and it should not be overlooked so casually. Life is too short not to allow yourself to get lost in your imagination every now and then, it’s a gift and it should be exploited. I think what brought these thoughts to my mind was the fact that I have a few distinct memories of listening to albums in this way and they are such fond old memories that will stay with me. This is not something I would expect everyone to do on a regular basis, but it’s something that I could encourage anyone to explore at least once.

 

Metro

Radio Silence

It certainly has been a while has it not? I arrived in Seoul and hit the ground running it seems. While there are only a few short days left here in this wonderful country I am left wishing I had more time but life moves forward with or without us so its time to press on, get back home and start working toward the future. I won’t get into details here in this post, I simply wanted to post a quick update to reassure everyone that I am alive and well and doing great. Outside of fighting off a cold last week things have been great during my time here. There were a lot of moments where I wanted to jump online and share with everyone here but I simply couldn’t find the time to devote to editing photos and writing outside of taking notes for future posts and I am sorry for keeping things silent around here for so long but I promise to make up for it on my return. I have plenty of photos to share and will start to do so on my return this coming week. My flight home is on the 15th so expect to see something new the following weekend after I have a chance to settle back in. I hope everyone has been well and I will see you again next week!

YoungDoo Moon

Korea’s Got Seoul

…and soon enough it will have John as well. While I didn’t expect to travel this year, two or three weeks ago I made an unexpected decision to travel back to Seoul again. While this time I won’t be spending quite as long (3.5 weeks) I am still excited about traveling again. I don’t often dip too deeply into personal affairs here on FFS but I will mention that the reason for the trip is to spend more time with YoungDoo, my favorite person ever. Her and I have traveled together quite a lot now and having her in my life has done nothing but make it better so I am thrilled to see her again.

During my time there I hope to continue to post here as the small apartment I am staying in will have Internet access so I see no reason not to share while away. The last time I spent time in Seoul I was overwhelmed with inspiration and ended up with countless wonderful images that many readers now recognize as favorites and defining images of the site. Hopefully this time around I will return with another wonderful collection of images to share with you all.

Also in Seoul is my good friend Dave Jansen, a native of Holland, currently living and working in Korea as a brilliant web developer and programmer. He is the key source of code creation of the often hinted at, illusive new design for fiftyfootshadows.net. I mention this because we hope to get together for an afternoon and knock out the final details of the site design which will be much easier to coordinate in person. This means upon my return I will jump right into prepping for the launch of the new design, ideas, articles, and more. Hey, it’s only six months to a year behind schedule ;)

As far as traveling goes I am traveling only with an iPad 2 rather than bringing along my laptop and simply borrowing YoungDoo’s laptop to do a little bit of light image editing for possible desktop releases while there. I know it’s been discussed countless other places online but it’s still going to be a fairly interesting experiment to go sans laptop and rely only on my iPad and iPhone for any computing needs. My only real worry is if something does go awry I won’t have my iTunes mothership to dock with and fix things up.

I worry because over the past few weeks I have come across a bug twice where I would buy music with iTunes on the iPhone and somehow during the downloading process the iPhone looses track of all other music on the device leaving me with a message saying that there is no music on my phone and to plug it into iTunes to load it up. Upon plugging in everything pops back to normal with no explanation. One time this happened I actually lost the song purchased leaving me to either buy it again or deal with the weird process of getting permission to download the song a second time. My best bet is to simply not purchase any music while traveling but it still can be frustrating thinking something so simple could hinder a key ability of my iPhone. I hope that by bringing my iTunes library on a usb drive will let me at least have it around if something does go crazy.

So anyways, that’s all I wanted to mention about what is happening around here in the next few weeks. Wish me luck on the trip and I hope to see you on the other side!

Photo Credit: YoungDoo Moon

text

When Less is More is More Than Less

It’s amazing we are at a point where I will see half a dozen long form reviews of a two dollar application flood my RSS feed. Are we so desperate to save 1-5 dollars that we devote an hour to reading different perspectives on simple cheap apps? The web and the iOS app store have fueled the fire when it comes to this recent explosion of small, single use applications as well as our low expectations price wise. Now, don’t get me wrong, I admire products that can take one idea and make it shine. I love the simplicity of this approach but when is enough enough? How many different single use applications will I chew through before I am satisfied with one particular workflow or need?

As a photographer, audio engineer, and more recently, a writer, I find that there are a lot of useful tools available to me that aid me in these processes but this is  also where the waters start to get murky. I see blog after blog now chalking up minimalism as a bare bones, fundamental approach to living a tightly organized life and sometimes I feel it reaching near religious followings. Everyone wants their chance to show off how neatly organized they are, how they have discovered The best way to write a story, launch an application, or manage their time.

This is all well and good and I enjoy reading through different ideas and opinions but at what point is enough enough? When does minimalism start to become cluttered and excessive in itself?

Take writing for example, a task so basic and fundamental, in its essence it can be broken down to pen on paper or a stick in the sand. Yet here today we have a plethora of various writing applications because at some point in the past 15-20 years of modern technology we have managed to damage and greatly exaggerate the basic fundamentals of recording our thoughts and feelings into their written word. We have somehow sucked the romance out of it and turned it into nothing more than a means to reach an end.

Life and work have become so overly complex that there is now a sub genera of writing applications that strip out functionality in an effort to bring the focus back to writing. This is great and all and I myself use two such applications, but I am starting to wonder when we will realize that what we have is good enough. Why continue to spend countless time and energy (that we clearly realize is precious else all of this minimal talk sort of negates itself) researching new writing applications when you have one already that you are happy with? What on earth prompts you to think you need more than a keyboard and a few basic niceties to help organize, archive, and share the information?

I guess first off you have to ask, what constitutes happiness or contentment in a computer application that transcribes your thoughts. We construct our personal ideal in our mind and tell ourselves what features or lack of features we need to seamlessly get these thoughts out of our heads and onto the screen. So where do we get these ideals to begin with? Well, the way I see it, in today’s social media blitz of a world it’s peer pressure. No one is invulnerable to this. More than ever before I see people, including myself, fall prey to this most basic of social pressure. The web and tech has turned our minds, our needs, and our desires upside down and it’s gotten to a point where even something like writing has become a task easily influenced by the collective, ever shifting ideas of the people we follow online. It’s suddenly an urgent need to feel as though you are keeping ahead of the curve, staying relevant.

This means that, to a degree, our idea of contentment with an application is constructed of the things we let influence us. Now with a never resting movement of information this has grown increasingly difficult to keep up with and without realizing it we find ourselves thinking that there is always greener grass on the other side even if in reality we are perfectly happy with what we already have.

You end up coming across conundrums within the logic of finding a good app to suit your needs. If app X only had the ability to change the text size it would be perfect. If app Z would just let me pick my own typeface and adjust my kerning and leading I would really be able to get some good writing done. I like app Y a lot but it just has too many features to deal with… My point here is that at what point will we learn to satisfy this highly bizarre balance of both wanting so much more from so much less? When did we get so spoiled that we are left never feeling satisfied enough not to poke holes in everything. It’s depressing.

How many different conduits do we need to accommodate our writing needs? How many more ways do we need to sync data to feel as though we have control over it from every location possible? How many articles about being minimal do we need to read before we feel as though we have a natural understanding of our own needs? How much more do we really need to feel happy with less? I feel the answers to these questions in some ways speak volumes not only of our computing habits but the way in which we live our lives.

The same types of questions are brought forward within any number of other fields, most notable for me of course is photography. It’s almost painful to watch the speed at which trends come and go as various applications and techniques go through their month long cycle of interestingness. It seems everyone is out to discover the next best photo application or way to manipulate digital photos to look more analogue, a contradiction that will never really make any sense no matter how you look at it. When you break down what you really need as far as post editing tools are concerned (from a classic photographer’s standpoint)  you really only need iPhoto, or perhaps Aperture or Lightroom if you want to get more serious and shoot RAW which I always suggest you do if there is the option. Simplicity in post processing is key to developing your skills as a photographer. No matter how good you may think you are at something the only true path to honestly calling yourself a professional is time, patience, and an unwavering knowledge and precision within your craft. It doesn’t matter how many toys you have around to manipulate your images. Don’t play victim to current trends if you are trying to make your way as an artist. This is where these sorts of social pressures not only clutter and contradict the fundamentals of living an organized, minimal life but can also end up stunting your growth as a master of your passion.

Something else to be taken into consideration when debating the need for yet another app to try and fulfill our bottomless expectations are the various app stores out there and the dawn of pushing technically incomplete software into the market as the norm. While in some cases you get a product that grows in healthy ways with user feedback this has also turned software development into a rat race to push out new ideas first resulting in one too many half finished pieces of software. Since when was it ok to state, “as long as they add feature X in the future like they say they will this app will be the best ever!” in a review? This practice has thrown our expectations into a tail spin of disappointment and confusion leaving us constantly in search of what’s next before what we have is even truly fully realized. To me, that’s a maddening prospect.

To bring this back around to my original point, I am simply starting to find it daunting to read through endless reviews rambling about every negative nuance possible within a product which ends up reinforcing our driving need for more. Nothing is ever good enough anymore, even positive reviews seem to find the need to look for what is NOT there. This causes waves of developers scrambling to make new software to fill gaps that only ever existed because of newly imagined holes in our needs to begin with. If you are honestly trying to devote yourself to a minimal approach to computing and living, its amazing how simple this task really is and it astonishes me how much effort some people seem to go through in order to emulate the sometimes utopian standards projected to us online. Whats the big secret? Knowing yourself well enough to be honest with your own needs and learning to be your own you. It’s fine to keep up with the latest and greatest but you can’t let it define you. Age old advice but true now more than ever.

I find myself enjoying writing articles like this here on FFS because my mind is often running wild with curiosity and wonder as I read through the statements being made by fellow writers online and I can not help but want to jump in with observations from more of an aerial view. I find countless parallels between every creative field out there from writing, to music, to photography. I am interested in continuing to explore these observations from varying points of view through reviews, photographs, and simple observations like those mentioned here today. In the future you can expect not only a continuing source for photography and focus on that field (and of course plenty wallpaper imagery) but also growing observations on life in a world more and more dominated by technology. Speaking of which the often spoken of changes to the sites design and features are still very much underway! Just hit a few snags in the coding process of the new design, thanks again for being patient as I work towards building fiftyfootshadows into something even better.

Update: I have written a few more thoughts after a provoking comment left after publishing the article. I have pasted the comment and written a response after the ‘Read More’ link below.

(more…)

To whom it may concern,

IMAGES FOUND WITHIN THE FIFTYFOOTSHADOWS.NET PARALLAX WALLPAPER PACK ARE ©JOHN CAREY AND MAY NOT BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

DO:

• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share fiftyfootshadows.net with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.

DON’T:

• Post these elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics.
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J

——

By downloading any content from fiftyfootshadows.net you agree to the following terms:

All of the images contained within this website, fiftyfootshadows.net, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

I ask that you refrain from using any images found on fiftyfootshadows.net to create physically printed material of any kind. This includes posters, photographic prints, fliers, etc. Under no circumstances may you make a physical reproduction without written permission.

These rules also apply for any artwork or imagery submitted and shown within this site which was created by an artist aside from myself. Any images submitted and shared as wallpapers are the property of the artist who created them and in the same manner as my images, you are asked to receive permission before using them in any way aside from their intended use. Any use of these images outside of for your own personal use as a desktop wallpaper image is prohibited without permission from the author of the image. Commercial licensing is available upon request. Please write with any inquiries.

When sharing images via your personal blogs I kindly ask that you link back directly to either the post the image was taken from or the base of the website at www.fiftyfootshadows.net and give a credit to www.fiftyfootshadows.net. Do not re-post full resolution desktop images anywhere without permission. If you would like to use an image for your blog background or something of the sort simply write to ask first. Support the artwork you admire! Also, it is greatly appreciated if you do NOT link directly to the zip files. This is more or less the same as re-posting them as it circumvents the tiny bit of support I ask of you which is to simply link back to the original post for others to enjoy the site.

It’s not fair to artists if you do not credit their work and link back to the original content creator. It is theft plain and simple and blogs that attempt to somehow be mysterious by not giving credit to the creators are simply hurting the artistic community as a whole. If you love it so much then please, support it! The artistic community on the Internet is based on trust. Without trust then what do we have? are you going to be one of the responsible users out there or will you be among the bottom feeders, stealing content and passing it off as your own to make a quick buck in ad sales.

Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

-John Carey (curator, owner)

fiftyfootshadows.net

fiftyfootshadows@gmail.com