Gray is an intermediate color between black and white. It is neutral or achromatic, meaning literally that it is a color "without color".
It's been a few months since I've done any substantial video editing and I decided that this week was going to be the one in which I got back into the swing of things.
My only problem was that it mostly rained these past few days.
I wasn't going to let the weather stop me though. In fact, the weather was what I decided to capture.
There's a strange idea out there that's shared amongst most of the people I come in contact with. Sunny days are thought of as happy, joyful, and beautiful. I can't think of anyone who doesn't like a sunny day. Rainy days, on the other hand, are considered sad, dreary, and ugly. I often, but not always, think of them as the opposite.
Rainy days can be beautiful.
There's a nature reserve not too far from where I live. I make an effort to visit it at least once a week, no matter what the weather is like. It's a place I've shot plenty of different film projects, including this one.
For a few short hours, I spent a cold wet afternoon with my camera in hand. To my surprise, I was the only one in the entire reserve. With the exception of my car, the parking lot was empty.
I didn't know what I was going to capture so I walked around a bit before shooting anything. As I guided myself through the muddy trails and hopped over the numerous puddles, I noticed that I couldn't stop staring at what was above me. There was something about the endless gray mass of clouds that quickly moved through the sky. There was beauty to be found over my own head.
The thing I was mesmerized by was devoid of any color and there wasn't a moment in which I was disinterested.
Perhaps that is what was so fascinating to me.
I had a lot of fun putting this short film together. There isn't anything particularly special about it, but I have yet to grow tired of framing shots, linking them together through the magic of editing, and setting it all to obscure instrumental music I love.
Thanks for watching.
I've written a handful of posts about weeks where I've not felt motivated or the times I've lacked inspiration. This week is similar yet different.
To put it bluntly, the circumstances I have found myself in over the last few weeks have been less than desirable. And those circumstances have made me want to give up on a few things. Mainly, things I've been planning on creating.
About two weeks ago, I found myself snowed in at home. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, I decided that my snow day was going to be a day of productivity. All I wanted to do was read, write, listen, and watch.
You know, productive things.
I spent hours upon hours planning out my creative output over the next few months. I mapped out an idea for a fourth EP, I stumbled upon an idea for a new documentary short, I wrote down a handful of new ideas for my book, and I even began to write an article to submit to a website I frequently read. I wanted to have most of these projects done over the next week or two.
Then I got sick; more sick than I had been in years.
I was confined to a bed for three straight days and my enthusiasm for the things I had planned on creating slowly faded away.
Then my sister - who was visiting for the holidays - returned home to California. That put an even bigger damper on things.
A few days later, I was let go from my job due to a slow season.
I wanted to give up, throw in the towel. How in the world could I be productive and enthusiastic about creating art when the things around me seem to constantly fall apart?
I spent more days than I would have liked to in this mindset, but eventually I found comfort. There was comfort to be found in the God who loves us, comfort to be found in the people who have been placed around me who express their concern, and comfort in the pieces of art that I care so much about.
I eventually found myself listening to an old song from the 70s titled "Northern Sky" by a guy named Nick Drake. It's a piece of music I've listened to on an almost daily basis for the last two or three years. I even used it in my Iceland film.
It's very special to me.
The average person isn't familiar with who Nick Drake was but there are a few out there who are and those people have been highly impacted by the short musical career he had. Drake lived a mostly sad and very short life. He suffered from major depression, made little to no money, and eventually died at the young age of 26. He had little success with music during his lifetime and his work wasn't fully appreciated until after he was gone.
It's safe to say that Nick Drake had his fair share of setbacks. Setbacks that aren't even comparable to my own.
Despite his hardships, Drake was someone who did what he loved until the day he died. During the recording session for "Northern Sky" he was described as being chronically shy, withdrawn, and unhappy with the song's initial arrangement. But he recorded it anyway.
Very few listened and appreciated the song during his lifetime.
However, about 45 years later, a young man in South Jersey was sitting in a Starbucks working on a paper for school. He was stressed with college and worried about the future that was ahead of him. As he was typing away on his laptop, an interesting sound immediately caught his ear.
It was a song called "Northern Sky" and eventually, it was a song that grew to have so much meaning for him.
There are always unforeseen circumstances that occur when we are trying to accomplish something. I find that everything going smoothly is a rarity. However, you should never give up on something you're working on.
Doing so would be much too selfish.
I've been sick this week.
That means there hasn't been much of a creative drive in me lately or any type of drive for that matter. So instead of some words, here's some music.
I'll be back next week.
A couple of weeks ago, I was spending my Friday night alone at home.
I got home from work, ate dinner, and played piano for a few hours in a dimly lit room. I didn't produce anything significant. I just played whatever came to me.
After losing track of time and deciding that my fingers were too sore to continue playing, I made the decision to go to bed. As I got up from the piano bench, I glanced to my right and looked at the large bookshelf we have next to the piano. A big colorful book caught my eye.
It was a photo album.
I removed it from the shelf and looked at the front cover adorned with multiple images of Mickey Mouse. I remembered getting it from Disney World when I was six years old and filling it with photos that I captured with my plastic blue Fisher-Price film camera. I opened it up and was surprised by a few of the pictures.
Most of the photos were blurry, poorly lit, and horribly framed, much like any photo taken by a six year old would be. But there were a few that weren't like that. In fact, a handful of photos were pretty sophisticated for someone of that age. Well, as sophisticated as a photo taken with a Fisher-Price camera could be.
What follows are some of my favorites.
This is Patches. She was given to me on my fourth birthday and my family had her for 10 years. Some of my best memories from my childhood revolve around this dog. I can vividly remember how excited she would be to see me when I would arrive home from school or how I wouldn't go to sleep unless she was ready to go to sleep herself (she slept in my room on a dog bed right next to me).
This photo is exactly how I remember Patches. One of her favorite things to do was laze around on the living room floor while always staying alert. She was a typical watchdog.
Eventually, she got sick. My parents kept taking her to the vet and getting her medication in the hopes that she would get better, but she didn't. We took her to the vet one last time to be put down a few weeks before I started my freshman year of high school.
I still miss her.
The techniques used in this photo are ones that I still use today. Both the rule of thirds and the use of negative space are on display here. I had no idea what I was doing back then though. I just thought the photo looked nice. It perfectly summed up one of my best friends.
I took this photo somewhere in Florida while on a family vacation. To this day, my favorite pictures are that of nature, animals, landscapes, etc. I am sometimes referred to as "Nature Josh". Even at six years old I had the same tastes.
I don't exactly remember capturing this image but I can imagine myself waiting for the time to be just right. The two turtles probably had to be right next to each other in order for the picture to "work".
I'm sure I put a lot of thought into this image. I just wish I could remember what those thoughts were!
A selfie attempt. I can still recall turning the camera around and thinking that it would be possible to get a photo of my face.
I was half right.
After my mom got a batch of photos developed for me, I was severely disappointed with this one. I didn't understand why it didn't work.
I still wonder why things don't turn out the way I want them to. Especially when I try my best.
One of the coolest photos I have ever taken.
This is my uncle Joseph, but all of his nieces and nephews know him as "UJ". I took this on Christmas day 1996, the day I received my camera. I had recently seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and that's the vibe I was going for in this one.
Looking at it now, I see a big western influence. The hat is the most obvious, but the way the shot is framed almost looks as if it were a still taken from a Sergio Leone film. My dad was always watching old western movies and TV shows like Bonanza when I was that age and some of those things must have indirectly influenced me.
If you get a chance this week, I suggest you try to find something you made when you were a child. Drawings, writing, photos, really anything. Then go ahead and compare it to who you are now. Do you find more similarities or differences? What do you think was going through your mind back then?
I've always been hesitant in sharing my love of art with others. Mostly because I find that few are interested in it the same way I am or I fear that I'm not as accomplished as they might be.
But I've been taking photos on and off for twenty years now. Anybody who does something for that long obviously has been given a passion for it. Whether others perceive it as "good" or "bad" doesn't matter.
If God's given you a passion go ahead and do it.
Do it to the best of your abilities.
A place for creativity and inspiration.