6 Photo-Related Activities to do Under Self-Isolation

6 Photo-Related Activities to do Under Self-Isolation:

Like most of you, I’ve been self-isolating because of the corona virus pandemic, and while I’m still working, and producing content for this blog, I’m not currently doing any shoots with people/models right now.  Plus, I’m limited by what I can review because most pieces of gear require me to go out for an extended period of time to shoot, so there’s still plenty of free time at home.  So, what is there to do?  Well, here are 6 photo-related activities I’ve been doing to pass some of my extra time.

Organize Your Photos:

If you’re home, one activity that you can do is re-organize your photos.  I get busy sometimes, and I have to admit, my desktop right now is a mess.  I’m human, so I can get disorganized at times ;).  I have files all over my computer and different external drives.  Ugh, it’s definitely not good haha.  Now is the perfect time to start moving things around into external drives and re-organizing everything.

I know some people use cloud storage but I still use external hard drives.  One company’s drives that I’ve been almost religiously using for years are Western Digital drives.  I’ve just had really good experiences with them.  Recently, I bought new 5TB My Passport for Mac USB 3.0 External Hard Drives that are pretty cool.  The price was very decent, and so far, they’ve been extremely reliable.  Another manufacturer that I absolutely love is CalDigit.  I use CalDigit VR2 Professional Hardware RAID Dual HDD Drives for my most important stuff.  These are professional drives built to last, and also have been extremely reliable.  I can’t recommend them enough.

Edit or Re-Edit Your Photos:

If you’ve been backed up on shoots like I have, this is the perfect opportunity to catch up.  I shoot quite a lot; during my busy times of the year, I’m shooting 200 to 3,000 photos per week, if not more sometimes, and it can definitely add up even when you’re being picky, and only choosing the best ones to edit.  Right now, I’m going through all those shoots.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is looking back at older photos I’ve already edited, and seeing if I want to change anything.  Like most things, if you do photography consistently enough, you evolve and get better.  So do your editing techniques.  Plus, sometimes I get busy, and I don’t always spend as much time as I need to on certain edits, so they don’t come out exactly the way that I want.  This is the perfect time to go back, and re-edit those photos.

Learn new Editing Techniques:

Since we’re on the topic of editing, you can also spend some time right now learning new editing techniques.  I’ve definitely taken the time to experiment a bit, and see what I like, and don’t like in terms of editing.

Clean Your Photo Gear:

This is a great time to get to some cleaning, if some of your gear need it.  Truthfully, I don’t clean my photo gear much at all.  As long as it does not affect my image quality, I leave it alone because my philosophy is that the more you clean say a lens, for example, the higher the chance is that you’ll scratch it.  When I do clean something, I tend to do it very minimally.

For instance, I’ve only done sensor cleaning twice.  They were with the Fuji X-T3 and the Leica SL2.  I just never felt like I needed to clean any of my sensors, and truthfully, most dust spots are easy to remove in Camera Raw or Photoshop.  However, I had a big dust spot in both cameras that just wouldn’t go away, so I had to clean them.  As I said before, I clean very minimally, so all I used was a Giottos Rocket Blaster Large.  I aimed both cameras down, and gently blew some air in them, and that’s it.

As for lenses, I generally use filters for all of them, and before we get into that whole filter vs. no filter debate, I have never seen any degradation in image quality with a high quality filter.  I’m not saying people who do not want to use a filter should use one; I’m just saying I do, and haven’t had any issues with them.  There are many brands that offer high quality filters but the ones that I use are Leica branded ones for my Leica lenses, and B+W mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 filters for everything else.  The Leica ones are fantastic, and the B+W filters are the best third party filters that I’ve ever used.

Still, filters get dirty but overall, dust and small specs of dirt don’t affect my image quality, so I don’t really do any cleaning.  There was only one time where I had no choice.  A model I was shooting with accidentally placed my camera with the lens’ front element on her lap while she was reviewing the pictures, which left a huge smudge stain on my filter.  That will affect image quality, so I used ROR Lens Cleaner, which is a fantastic solution.  You can read my article about it here.

Join Social Media:

If you haven’t already, another activity that you can do is join a social media app like Instagram.  Yes, there are some negatives to social media but I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives.  For one, it’s a great way to show your work.  It’s also a great place too, of course, socialize :).  I’ve met a lot of fellow photographers there that I’ve ended up shooting with, and becoming friends with too.  Instagram is also the place where I find most of my models or where models find me to shoot with.  It’s a fantastic way to network.  If you do join Instagram, my page is here; come look me up!

Prepare For Future Shoots:

Lastly, you can use this time to prepare for future shoots.  That’s what I’ve been doing quite a bit.  I love shooting but when I was doing it a lot before all of this happened, it was easy for me to get into kind of a routine.  Now that I’ve had the time to stop, and think a bit, I can take my time to try to be more creative as opposed to just following the same groove I’ve been doing.  I’ve been looking back at some of my favorite photographers’ works, like Sante D’Orazio, for example, for inspiration.  I’ve been looking around Amazon for cool props I can use.  I’ve even been bouncing around ideas with my regular models for when the day comes when we can go out for a shoot.

6 Photo-Related Activities:

So, those are my 6 photo-related activities that I’m currently doing.  Do you have any to suggest?  Feel free to comment below, or even DM me on Instagram, and let me know.  As always, thanks for stopping by, and stay safe everyone!

16 comments… add one
  • Kathy Davis

    Good post!

    Sorry you can’t do your professional work right now, but I’m glad to hear you’re safe, The phrase ‘NYC’ makes me worry.

    Here, most of my time is putting my math courses online, but we get out every day — kind of upper middle class suburbia with trees, winding trails, limestone ridges.

    So street is out — I’m working on using the M with the 50 summi & 90 Elmarit, doing “portraits” of flowers. That’s one thing I’d add to your list: it’s a great time to extend yourself.

    Stay safe,
    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Thanks Kathy!

      Great to hear from you, and it sounds like you’re doing well, which is great.

      My cousin is a math teacher, and he was telling me that all his courses are online now as well. It’s amazing actually the more that I think about it…when I was in school, it wasn’t even conceivable to have online courses, and after college when I went for more schooling, they had just begun a few. The ones that you could choose from definitely did not have any video conferencing. Technology amazes, and I probably sound pretty old now haha.

      I live in a suburbish area in Brooklyn near the water, so I’m still able to get out if I want to for a brief walk. There really aren’t many people around, and in the beginning, I went out for maybe 10-15 minutes in the morning just to walk a bit for exercise but now, I’ve been generally staying home, and maybe walking out in my patio, if I want some fresh air. My sister is a surgeon at a hospital in NJ, and she was telling me to just stay home, stay home.

      Like you, any street is out for me as well. I’ve also stopped reviewing anything new for the time being, since that requires to to walk around outside for an extended period to get pics. Luckily, I still have a few reviews that I did not get a chance to post yet, so those are the ones I’m working on finishing. I’m also working on older reviews that I just never finished.

      The flowers idea is a great one! I actually did some with the SL2 and 75mm Summilux:

      http://findingrange.com/2020/04/01/shooting-indoors/

      But those are the only flowers I have right now at my place lol. Macro photography is something good to probably add on too :).

      Again, it’s good to hear from you, and you stay safe as well,

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Patrick,
    Nice article. Good tips.
    Stay safe.
    Regards,
    Bud James

    Please check out my fine art and travel photography at http://www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto.

    • Patrick

      Thanks Bud,

      You stay safe as well! Thanks for sharing your work!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    Patrick,
    Thanks for the comments & links. It’s sad to hear your Dad isn’t doing photography; I loved the posts on Tokyo with the X100. But, I guess we move on in life. One of our VP’s used to do photography on the University, but the last few years he developed Parkinson’s. I doubt even IBIS can help that.

    So you never put the Summi 50 on your SL2? I’m shocked; shocked I say. Not really though — that glass was never designed for 47megas, and your L lenses are. When you get around to your SL2 review, I’ll be curious to see what you do with 290mb files, besides heating up your laptop. More seriously — 47mp, Leica sensor, L lenses — makes my mouth water.

    I like your work with shadows; actually my favorite of your model shots use shadows and it seems very effective. And any woman who’s checked out herself in shadows in a mirror knows they can do beautiful things to her body.

    Sad you’re off street for a while; I remember a lot of those Chinatown shots. Actually I used to teach at Princeton & go up to NYC for dim sum. Nostalgic.

    Though — there’s a pricey retirement home up the street from us. On our walk we saw a grandmother leaning out her balcony, with daughter and granddaughters in the parking lot below. It turns out a zoom lens is perfect for social distancing photography 🙂

    Best,

    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      Yeah, my dad just isn’t as interested in it as he used to be. He used to be like me, taking all that photographic gear on vacation and driving my mom crazy lol but now, he just carries around an Olympus Pen-F with a pancake zoom. Even then, he uses his iPhone mostly or if I go on vacation with them, he gets me to take the photos haha. By the way, I’m really sorry to hear about the VP who ended up developing Parkinson’s.

      As for the 50 Cron, I never used it on my SL2 haha. In fact, I did not use any M lens on my SL2 with the exception of that one time indoors when I shot those flowers last month. I think I will soon though, and write up some articles about them on the SL2 because a few people have wanted to know how the M lenses perform on the new camera. Btw, my files are not 290mb; I’ve broken the 5gb barrier hahaha. My TIFF files end up being around 5 to 6gb in size now. I’m also not doing anything really special or unique. I’m doing pretty standard retouching stuff. I do not flatten my layers though because I have OCD; I like to be able to go back to them if I want to. I’m actually in need of a new computer, which I plan on purchasing maybe mid-summer. I think Apple usually upgrades the processors around then. I’m looking at the Macbook Pro 16 or an iMac.

      As for making your mouth water haha, you seriously have to see these files in high res. They are simply spectacular. The combination of L mount glass with 47MP, and Leica doing their own little tweaks on that sensor all combine to give you breathtaking images. Seriously. It’s easily my favorite camera ever, and that includes cameras from my film days (my favorites being my M3 and a Mamiya 6MF). You should stop by a Leica dealer, and just try one. What’s also so great is that because it’s L mount, you can use so many other lenses other than Leica ones. The Sigma stuff, for example, is amazing. So is the Panny stuff.

      Also, thanks for your very kind words about my work with shadows. It means a lot. I love working with shadows. I actually did this one shoot before this pandemic that I’d love for you to see, once I’m done with the editing. I’ll be posting it on my Insta.
      It was a boudoir shoot, and it was shot during sunset hours. The light coming into my room was just incredible. So many cool shadows and great lighting in general. It was like my favorite shoot ever, and it was with a new person who was just getting into shooting. She never shot with a photographer before. She was awesome.

      As for street, I am definitely not doing any for a while. I miss walking around aimlessly getting shots but this situation that we’re in won’t last forever :). Too bad I didn’t know you then when you worked in Princeton. We could’ve met up to shoot in Chinatown haha. When did you work in Princeton, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m wondering if you taught my friend. I know there are probably tons of students.

      I was actually thinking the same about a zoom lens :). That 90-280mm for L mount would be perfect right now haha. Stay safe, Kathy,

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Jed Orme

    Hello Patrick,

    Thanks so much for offering these useful things to do relating to our photography during this stressful lockdown time period. More importantly, I’m happy to know that you are also OK, living where you do in NYC with its difficulties. Here in the CA desert we are also staying home excepting for groceries we can’t get delivered or a medical emergency.

    While housebound, I really should finish organizing & scanning my old 35mm slides, but I’m thinking of getting the new Fuji X100V instead. Then I could spend time taking photos in the house & in our desert backyard to get to know all about it & how best to use it. I remembered your affinity for the original X100 & its progeny, so I hope when conditions permit you might get a loaner X100V from Bergen to review. I’ll look forward to reading it.

    Stay safe & healthy to you & your family. Cheers,

    Jed

    • Patrick

      Hi Jed,

      Apologies for the late reply, and thanks for taking the time to read it! Good to hear from you! Yes, I am doing good here in NYC, thanks. I’ve been practicing social distancing, etc. Grocery delivery here is impossible to get it seems, so I go out as well for them. This pandemic was so sudden though. I remember having a shoot scheduled, and literally, the next day, I had to cancel it. It’s a bit scary.

      As for loaners, I can get them now if I want to but I’m holding off a bit until things get better here. Bergen County is still open for phone/online orders but that’s not where I get them anyway haha. Luckily, I still have a few reviews I did not post yet but for things like X100V and X-T4, I’m going to wait a bit. I still have my X-Pro3 review though, which for some reason, I have not posted yet after all this time haha. I should really get to it.

      I’m glad you and your family are doing well. Please stay safe, be careful, and take care of yourself!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    I forgot one hing, about focusing with the 75mm.

    I read that the EVF on the SL2 was a lot higher resolution than the SL. So that kind of interests me, as I do a lot of EVF on the Fuji X-E3, the Leica M, the D-Lux 109. Still isn’t up to rangefinder quality.

    So my question is whether the SL2 could nail that razor’s edge better than other cameras you used?

    Stay Chill!

    Kathy

    • Patrick

      The SL2 has the best EVF I’ve used so far. It has 5.76MP. It’s better than real life. There’s a huge difference between its evf and the ones in those cameras you mentioned. Plus, it has 0.8x magnification, if I recall correctly. With the SL1, it was easier to focus than with any other camera I’ve used before. It also had the best viewfinder for its time, in my opinion, but the new one is light years ahead. You should give it a try :).

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    You know, I was thinking about your Dad and photography, and I realized he maybe on to something: “I’m here with my son who’s a professional photographer. I’ll let *him* take the photos while I just enjoy the trip.”

    He’s more cunning than I thought ) BTW the Pen F is no slouch; I had it for a while & had fun with it. A friend had her 40th as a brunch; her guy was a NYTimes photographer; he was busy roasting a goat, and I ran around with my Pen. A lot of the guys there were pros, and played with the Pen, but they told me “See this? It’s Fuji. . .. I can control aperture right on the lens!” I should have listened earlier 🙂

    Those photoshop programs do warn you saving with layers will increase file size. I wonder if there’s an entry in Guinness Book for largest TIFF? You could be in the running!

    Going to a dealer and picking up an SL2 – oh, no, no, no. Last time I tried something like that I walked out with an M8 and a 50 summi. My spouse is a licensed psychologist; she did her residency in a men’s federal prison; most of the guys were in for drugs. They report, you take a hit of coke, WITHOUT THINKING you take another. That’s how I feel next to a new Leica 🙂

    It’d be great to see some of those files. I read ” Peter Karbe of Leica Camera AG…. has long contemplated and prepared lens designs for much more resolution in future sensors. The Leica L lenses are prepared for much more than 100 megapixel sensors, and so was the 28mm Summilux on the Leica Q2″

    So yeah, I can see what an older 50cron does compared to some of my Nikon, etc lenses on the same camera. It’s a different level. Then a lens designed for 100mp+ . . . how do you go back after that?

    I was at Princeton 1974-76. I would have been shooting with a Pentax Spotmatic 🙂 but I was so overwhelmed to do much — I mean, Einstein used to be there, and the people down the hall from me were just as sharp.

    New computer, 90-280 Leica L . . . what recession? One thing I learned the hard way: I got an older model Apple Pro (big box) and the 30″ retina monitor. What I didn’t think about: the video card. The one I had couldn’t use its processors to help along my eight-core. So when I went from M8 to M240, opening a tiff took quite a while. OK, maybe 20 seconds but you get the idea. I shoulda had a better video card.

    Boudoir in shadows with the SL2 — that’s gonna be something to look forward to ! I’m also interested in the model; how’s she going to present herself that’s different from the more experienced women?

    Who needs street 🙂

    Take care

    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Haha, yeah I guess my dad is more cunning than I thought ;).

      I also agree with you on the Pen-F. I actually had a discussion with one of my photographer friends back in the winter. There are some out there that discount it simply because of sensor size but the truth is, nowadays, there really isn’t a bad camera out there. I’m a firm believer that if you know what you’re doing, you can get great images from almost anything these days. Look at what some people can do with an iPhone. Sure, there are definitely downsides to the system, and the Pen-F but there are downsides to every system and camera.

      Haha yes, my TIFF files are enormous lol. But I heard there are some out there with much larger files than even mine lol. They must run super computers. I wanted to upgrade but I heard recently through the rumor mill that Apple may come out with new chips in 2021. I’m wondering if I can hold out until then haha. Of course, with what’s been going on, maybe they might have to postpone.

      I know how you feel about going into a Leica store lol. I want everything there even stuff I wouldn’t really use haha. When I reviewed the 28mm Summaron, I absolutely fell in love with that lens. I think that is truly one of the most special lenses currently out right now, and price wise, it isn’t completely insane by Leica standards. After I sent it back, I was so close to buying my own. I entered my credit card number in and everything. But I guess my sense kicked in because truthfully, I just wouldn’t have much use for a 28mm. It’s one of my least favorite focal lengths, and for what I shoot, it just would not see much use. But if you want something special, you should definitely take a look at that lens. I still may pick one up one day…who knows. It’s not a priority but it is on my bucket list. What I would love is if Leica came out with more of those older designs.

      As for resolution and new lenses, I understand all optics have certain characteristics. But at the same time, these new SL lenses are so good that they get addictive to use. Quite frankly, I don’t want to use anything else. Obviously, I love Leica products but I’m not so blinded by my love that I don’t think they can’t do no wrong. But these SL lenses are plain out phenomenal. I’ve been in the system for several years already, and during my peak times, I’m shooting anywhere from 200-3,000 pics a week; even with all that time with the system, I still am at awe with what these lenses can do. And the beauty is, you’re not dealing with things like focus issues. You want a razor sharp image at f1.4, quickly I might add, you’ll get it. It’s as simple as that. Of course, you may want one of those older lenses for certain characteristics. For instance, I’m currently looking for a mint 50mm Summarit f1.5. The swirly bokeh looks so cool ;). BTW, the lens on the Q is fantastic as well. I want a Q so badly but it has a 28mm lens.

      Speaking of lenses, I’m only getting the 90-280 as a loaner :). It is ginormous, and I’m trying to figure out if I can even fit it in my bags lol. I don’t use zooms much, and I don’t need a such a long focal length, so I’d just go with the Sigma 105mm f1.4. I talk about that lens so much haha.

      As for the model, there are definitely more experienced shooters than me but at least from what I know, the model’s confidence goes a long way. Plus, the relationship between photographer, and model matter quite a bit I think because it makes things a lot more comfortable for both parties, which usually translates into better pictures. With this new girl, we just hit it off right away. It was like we were long lost best friends from the start. In fact, we shot from 9am till about 7pm, and then we decided to meet two days later with basically the same hours.

      Next up: film. I can’t wait until I can actually shoot again with someone. I’m bringing my M6 and giving it a go during a shadowy, grainy, sensual, and very filmy boudoir session :). Also, I plan on doing a Facetime shoot this coming week haha ;).

      Hope you’re doing well,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    OK, I was wrong: it takes 8 seconds to open.

    But it’s a looong 8 seconds !

    It’s amazing right: you do this in a darkroom and it’s an evening. Now I’m complaining about 8 sec to see my Luminar or DXO or Photoshop.

    It’s an amazing time.

    • Patrick

      8 seconds? How large are you TIFFs on average?

      Remember when 36 exposures was a lot haha??? I remember doing this one shoot with my friend and a Mamiya 6MF. You only had 12 exposures per roll. I only had two rolls of film, and it lasted me the entire day haha.

  • Kathy Davis

    Patrick,

    I have to wonder — how long can you survive without taking photos? I read your nostalgia for NYC.

    It was interesting to hear about focusing with the super-EVF on the SL2. Not that I’m thinking of going in that direction — just got a $24K bid on getting our house ready for sale! Now how many Leica lenses could I have bought instead?

    Two? 🙂 🙂

    But I’m hoping sometime in the near future, that EVF technology is going to trickle down — maybe to the Fuji X-E10 🙂

    There’s one thing I’’ve been wondering about — you mentioned trying out the Leica L zoom. I know you said you use autofocus for your professional work, and with shifting, moving models it makes a lot of sense.

    But when got that Fuji 55-200 zoom (which is great) the two things I can’t get used to are the loss of zone focus and “zone aperture” if there is such a thing. So it’ll be interesting to see your take when you’re no longer using a prime.

    Stay safe!

    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      I don’t know, it’s been a long time since I took any photos; I might not remember how to actually take photos by the time this is all over haha.

      As for the SL2’s evf, it’s a lot easier to manually focus with it. It’s miles ahead of anything I’ve used so far. It’s so clear and sharp that it’s better than real life haha. In fact, I’ve actually been playing around with my Leica M6, and it’s actually been a little difficult getting used to the OVF again.

      Speaking of my M6, when I can finally go out again to shoot, I plan to do a boudoir shoot with film, which I’ve never tried. I’ve been spending some of my extra time googling around, and it looks like a lot of fun.

      I’m sure EVF tech will trickle down over time. I still remember the X100. The EVF had so many bugs back then. The tech has already come a long way since then.

      As for the zoom, I’m not even sure when I’ll get to use it at this point haha. But I’ll let you know, as soon as I get a chance to use it more.

      Take care, Kathy!

      Best,

      Patrick

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