Most of my time is spent working in an information technology field, but art is an outlet where I can find a sense of self-expression. When I was a kid, my father would take me places to show me how to use his cameras. He used to shoot on an old Pentax film camera. While it wasn’t high end gear, I loved photography.
The problem with photography is that, as a hobby, it can become a giant hole in your pocket. By 2007 I had a collection of camera bodies – a Canon 5D DSLR, specialty lens’ and an old Pentax 645 Medium Format Film camera. A few years later, during the Great Recession, I hit rock bottom and was forced to part with all of my equipment.
Only recently did I decide to buy a camera again – something used and affordable.
I picked up a Fuji X-T2 digital mirrorless camera recently, along with a cheaper lineup of their XC-50-230mm lens. The only other lens I have is a manual lens made by Meike, the Meike 35mm f/1.7.
That Meike lens is pretty fantastic. Shooting with it though I feel guilty as I’m bypassing 80% of my camera’s functionality. The lens has no electronic components, so there’s no auto focus, no auto metering. Instead the camera is put on “no lens attached” mode, and I do everything by hand. But the shots from that lens remind me so much of the old days shooting film.
Visual Editing & Design
As important to the photo is the post-processing. For this I use a mix of Adobe Photoshop and Skylum’s Luminar. I also use 3D design tools, and illustration software (such as Illustrator and off brand apps like Affinity Photo/Designer.) I’m always learning new aspects to color grading, LUTs and the excellent tips and tricks from YouTubers like PixImperfect.
I started producing instrumental work and listing it with Spotify and YouTube. Certainly it’s not profitable – I’m writing songs in a genre that few are interested in, but it does make me feel good to produce something.
Musical Composition Tools and Apps
I have two DAWs that I use for song creation:
Ableton is a great starter for my ideas, but Cubase is more suited for orchestral or classical composition. There’s no rule against doing classical composition in Ableton, but Cubase has a set of unique offerings to quickly make changes to a large scope of instruments.
All the instruments I use are virtual (VST). Some packages that I use a lot are:
- Noire Piano
- Session Guitarist (Acoustic)
- Spitfire’s Albion Solstice
- Spitfire’s BBC Orchestra
- Spitfire’s Solo Violin
Like an online portfolio, I want this site to reflect my artistic work (photography, music, drawing and more). I intend to create pages dedicated to editing examples (like sky replacement), color grading, portrait cleanup and more. The music section will be a page dedicated to my music, which can be played and streamed, along with links to licensing the songs at Songtradr.
Unrelated to art, I have an interest in technology and that’s how I make a living. I test software, my role being a QA Engineer on Software development teams. Writing software as well, I create tools to ascertain and alert on error conditions in production environments. One of my projects was to create a tool to constantly test phone carriers for outages – report the outages to team members and automatically update with emails and UI changes when the calls are once again clear. I’ve also built tools to monitor production logs of Applications.
In my spare time I’ve studied different domains, like data science. Picking up Python and R, I’ve played around with those concepts as well.
Sites of dedicated to my work in those areas are:
- https://sdet.us (Main tech site, dedicated to Quality Assurance)
- https://continuouscoder.com (secondary site dedicated to learning new technologies)