It's hard to believe we are already more than a month into 2024. I had thought that finding the time to write a post like this once per month would be easy, but that's turning out to not be the case. Let's see how long I can keep this up.
We are currently in the depths of the Portland winter here. Around the middle of January, the city experienced a pretty terrible winter storm – several days of temperatures well below freezing, lots of downed trees, and a thick layer of ice covering everything for days. Some neighbors saw major damage to their homes from falling trees, and Mt. Tabor Park (one of my beloved places in the city) took a lot of damage (RIP picnic area). We avoided any real damage but did lose power for several days and had to scramble to find a place where we could take Iris to keep her warm. Not a fun experience, that's for sure.
Even without extreme weather events, winters in Portland are still somewhat challenging I must admit. Weeks and weeks of continuous gloom, cold, and damp takes a psychic toll. I'm trying to make the best of it (more on this below), but next year I think we need to get out of the city for a while to break up this gray and gloomy stretch of time.
Learning new things
Last month I attended a basic carpentry class that Laurel got me as a holiday gift. I've always been more adept with software than with hardware, but I am finding it very satisfying to work with my hands and make a physical thing that I can use. I built a hanging light sconce out of a big piece of reclaimed wood which is now hanging above the garage workbench. I could see myself getting into this.
Upcoming travel: Japan
At the start of this year, I decided that I would re-commit to photography – specifically, to becoming better as a photographer and purusing more personal projects as opposed to simply documenting friends/family/daily life (which I will also continue to do).
For a long time, I've admired the work of photographer Greg Girard. When I saw that he was hosting a workshop (in Japan, a place I have long wanted to visit), I went out on a limb and applied. To my amazement I was accepted, so now I'm trying to prepare myself for my first international trip since 2019. This will be an amazing (once in a lifetime, perhaps) opportunity to learn from a world-class photographer.
I think that the workhsop will involve a lot of urban night-time photography, so I've been getting back in the habit of going out in the evenings and making use of Portland's abundant winter darkness. I'd like to make some kind of project out of this.
I wanted to get some more experience doing studio portraiture, so I rented a photography studio for a day and invited a bunch of friends over. This was a lot of fun and a big success in my opinion. I learned a ton about lighting in the process as well. I'll post more about this soon.