Ten thousand hours

There’s something magical about watching a master at work. Masters make everything look easy. Fluid. Simple. Obvious. They leave you walking away thinking “I could do that!” only to leave you a quivering, whimpering, simpering mess after your first attempt.

Clearly there’s nothing easy about what they do. Ten thousand hours of practice—according to Malcolm Gladwell or whoever he cribbed that idea from—is just about when we’re supposed to start getting innately “good” at what we do.

That’s 5 years of full-time work, give or take.

Sounds about right… If you’re not good at what you’re doing after practicing it full-time for 5 years, perhaps it’s time to consider another vocation.

Shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and XF50MM F2

Be sure to click on the images and see them full-size in the lightbox, ideally on a big screen.

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Blue Monday

Seems fitting for a day like today.

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How does it feel to treat me like you do?
When you’ve laid your hands upon me and told me who you are
I thought I was mistaken, I thought I heard your words
Tell me how do I feel
Tell me now, how do I feel
Those who came before me lived through their vocations
From the past until completion, they’ll turn away no more
And still I find it so hard to say what I need to say
But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me just how I should feel today
I see a ship in the harbor
I can and shall obey
But if it wasn’t for your misfortune, I’d be a heavenly person today
And I thought I was mistaken, and I thought I heard you speak
Tell me, how do I feel
Tell me now, how should I feel
Now I stand here waiting
I thought I told you to leave me when I walked down to the beach
Tell me how does it feel, when your heart grows cold, grows cold, cold

Writers: BERNARD SUMNER, GILLIAN LESLEY GILBERT, PETER HOOK, STEPHEN PAUL DAVID MORRIS

Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Blue MondayBlue Monday

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The Antidote


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It’s been one of those winters. Here in Ottawa, snow has been on the ground since November 12 and we haven’t seen the grass since. I have about 1m of snow in my backyard; in the front yard, the snowploughs and snow blowers and shovels have conspired to creat a 2-3m high mass. We can’t see the street from our living room.

Late winter is always gray and dreary. The pristine white of fresh snow yields to the greys and beiges of melting snow mixed with pollution.

To top it off, yesterday we got a freak storm that dropped about 10cm of wet, heavy snow in about an hour.

Sure, it’s pretty again, but really? Enough.

In protest of Mother Nature’s capriciousness I present to you an antidote to snow. Enjoy.

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The beginning of the end

The days are getting longer. The sun is higher in the sky, shining a little warmer each day.

Nature’s circadian rhythm waxes and wanes, temperatures rise and fall, water molecules ebb and flow.

Winter is starting to release its icy grip. Hallelujah.

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Shot with Fujifilm X-T2, the stunning Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R and the MCEX-11 extension tube.

Capture One pixie dust with some Classic Chrome played a starring role.

33 RPM

What’s old is new again.

There’s something to be said about a recording medium that if you look close enough you can actually see the music. Little pits and valleys etched in the grooves of a 12-inch vinyl disc.

Sensitive to dust, dirt, vibrations and mishandling, LP records were inherently imperfect. They skipped, popped and hissed. They were inconvenient, big and bulky, prone to warping in the heat, shattering in the cold and they could hold no more than 26 minutes of music per side. The supposedly indestructible (nope!) CD, relatively tiny and portable, practically made LPs extinct by 1992. No “sides” to flip, up to 80 minutes of music, no hiss, no pops and “studio quality” sound… what more could you ask for?

But CDs didn’t have glorious 12-inch square paper and cardboard album covers, liner notes, fold-outs and all the other things that could make LPs magical. Sure, some CDs had plastic “jewel boxes” with little booklets of liner notes, mini photo albums and all that, but they were small. only 5¼ inches square.

27½ square inches vs 144 square inches. No contest. For album art, it was like looking at a photo album on an iPhone vs a 4K monitor.

Today in the era of Internet music streaming, CDs have faded into obscurity too. The appeal of an endless stream of any music at any time, no limits, no flipping sides just outweighs the tactile and visual pleasure of album art and soaking in music as a multimedia experience. Artists have websites for that now, right?

Young people are embracing vinyl again. I wonder if they won’t mind getting up every 20 minutes or so to flip the album.

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All images shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and XF35MM f1.4 lens.

Acros JPG with a little Capture One pixie dust.