#74: Not Walking in the Dog Days of Summer

#74: Not Walking in the Dog Days of Summer

Going Back to the Walks of 2019 // Twitter Tips for Photographers // Challenges with Projects // Joshua Jackson Insights on projects

Untermyer Park and Gardens, Yonkers, New York, January 1, 2019

This heat wave! I feel I can say that and nearly everyone reading will be experiencing it to some degree. It's a strange time of the year. Traditionally late July and August is the slowest period of the year for corporate America.

Many people take their vacations during this time, trying to savor the last of the summer. Of course, we're not in normal times right now, and may never be again. With the pandemic still very much with us, and economic recovery creeping along, we're still struggling to find our new orientation.

I am not taking vacations any time soon. I would like to be out walking more but with this heat, it's just too difficult to make the long walks. So in some ways, I guess I am on vacation from long walks. I have been focusing on the productivity walks in the morning to stay active and get my steps in.

I have very much been desk bound, hitting the virtual pavement in search of freelance gigs, and working my way through the backlog of projects while making some new drawings.

Going Back to the Walks of 2019

Dobbs Ferry, Westchester, New York, January 27, 2019

I have a master spreadsheet with all my long walks which are built around the step counts I've been tracking since 2015. Prior to that the only data I have from my long walks are the photos, and while those can provide a lot of information, it's difficult to figure out the exact step counts and routes.  

So, I make 2015 the starting point for what's broadly my over arching walking project/archive. I started using Strava seriously in 2019 which added the mapping element to it.

I am slowly processing all of these walks, and editing them down into the shareable versions. Eventually they will live in an archive on my portfolio site as well as Twitter threads and Instagram slideshows.

I have the first two up on Instagram and the above thread on Twitter. It's the kind of experimental storytelling that I've wanted to do for a long time. Now the timing seems about right.

Ink on Canson Mix Media paper, 7x10 inches, based on the Strava map from the January 1st, 2019 walk in Westchester County, starting at Hastings-on-the-Hudson

When I have the Strava map, I've been making the hand drawn versions. I am hooked on making these maps. It's such an interesting process. I've learned so much by just doing it. What I find especially interesting is how you start to evolve the process as you continue to work. I feel I understand better how painters and sculptures learn through their process, and how you build upon slight variations and insights along the way. It's fascinating (even if your kid could do it).

I have a long way to go, but for now I don't mind the rough, amateurish nature of the aesthetics. I have to start somewhere.

I don't know how many of you are on Twitter these days but in the last month there's been an influx of photographers jumping on the platform in a semi-revolt against Instagram.

I've been on Twitter since 2008, and have pretty much used it daily ever since. Don't judge.

I figured I'd share some strategy tips to help people out. I am working on a longer article, but for now you can view the thread for more.

Here are some of the high level points.  

  • Be nice. Twitter has a reputation as a mean platform. But I have found the more positive you keep your feed, the more people will engage.
  • Share Your Photos: Always surprised when photographers get on Twitter and talk about anything and everything other than photography. People don't care about your politics unless it relates to your photography work. Share your photos! People want to see good photography.
  • Share Tips and Insights: People are also there to learn so drop your tips. We all have areas of expertise and can add value. Try Twitter threads. They do well if you really nail the topic.
  • Share and RT inspiring work: But always add a comment. Don't just blast your feed with a bunch of RTs. It's lazy. Why are you sharing? It can be a pithy comment or a long thread. But tell us why. Better yet, find cool stuff on blogs and other sites.
  • Comment and Engage: If there is one tried and true way to grow a following, it's by commenting on Tweets, and doing it in a genuine way. This makes you visible to new audiences.
  • Get to Know People: Twitter is about conversation and finding community. It's a very powerful platform. People have made career changing connections through Twitter. You can meet amazing people, and right now is a good time for photography.

More to come in a few weeks!

A Few Insights From Talking to Photographers About Projects

Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, January 27, 2019

It's been nice chatting with photographers about their projects. I am learning some great insights, not only about their challenges, but also how they envision completing their projects.

I am working on more robust articles about these topics as I think they are evergreen, and will be useful in the long term.

Here are a few developing themes

  • Is this an interesting project? Are the current photos any good? Do you think people will like it?

Naturally people want others to like their photographs but early in a project, I don't think that's necessarily the place to focus. I think it's more important to focus on the subject matter and developing a process.

With photography, it's often a game of repetition and accumulating enough photographs to give yourself permission to edit ruthlessly.

  • The struggle to stay motivated and keep pushing forward

Finding intrinsic motivation is tough for everyone. I've found that developing routines and rituals helps keep me focused and moving forward.

Ultimately, I think artists are simply wired to create and communicate. That doesn't mean it just comes naturally. You have to work at it. But I do believe there's a mysterious element to the act of creating that you either know you have or you don't.

  • Multiple Ideas: How do you choose the right path?

Having multiple ideas is a good problem. But it's important to validate them in some way. This is where I think talking through the ideas is very important. If you have a close group of photography friends, that can be a good resource.

This is the space I think I can help. I love talking about ideas, and often times through conversation, you'll discover which of your ideas resonate with you most strongly. It's often about answering critical questions. That's the part I enjoy!

If you're working on a project and feel a conversation would be helpful, I offer FREE 30 minute initial calls. You can sign up through my Calendly, and learn more about my consulting services at the link below.

Feel free to drop me a line too: info@bryanformhals.com

Photography Consulting — Bryan Formhals
My services focus on helping photographers develop their projects, find their voice and effectively communicate through digital channels.

News Roundup

I’m a photographer and consultant from Saint Cloud, Minnesota. This is my newsletter on art, walking, and mindfulness. Each issue, I share new work from my projects and try to make connections between ideas, articles and people that fascinate me. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram & Twitter