One Feeding Another

I had a brief conversation with a friend that brought to light an idea I've considered but not written down: interest in a hobby can lead to experiencing things related, but beyond the original focus. 

 James Coffee mug filled from a Chemex

James Coffee mug filled from a Chemex

For example: I have a love of good coffee. I dove into the deep end a few years ago buying supplies to brew coffee your average consumer might have never seen. My Chemex still gets questioned when we have guests at our house and my kyoto-style cold brew maker leads me to making jokes about my time as a chemist (jokes). Where the interest in brewing good coffee expanded was when I tried roasting green coffee beans in my backyard. It led to a pocketbook full of roasting and tasting notes but I found the process too laborious - I couldn't roast as fast as I drank either.

Similarly, photography renewed my interest in the outdoors. I spent many early, cold mornings in the surf when I first started shooting and more recently used my camera as an excuse to visit National Parks. I can credit my camera with many other things I enjoy about my life now - it's forced me to see things differently and explore with a more observant eye.

All that to say: having a deep interest in a singular thing can lead to experiences you might not have had otherwise. I'd encourage everyone to find that interest, or meditate on something you currently love that might have benefitted you in more subtle ways.

 The Joshua Tree hiding the sun in the desert.

The Joshua Tree hiding the sun in the desert.

North Park Sign

North Park in San Diego has got to be one of the city's most photographed neighborhoods. With all the art, culture and boutiques it draws quite a creative crowd to visit. 

I brought my camera out and focused primarily around the famous sign on University Avenue. I feel like this has been shot so many times that I was certain I wouldn't get anything overly original  on this particular afternoon. It was nice to get out in a community I don't spend too much time in.

Space Nerd

I have a fascination with the sky. I'm certain I picked it up from my parents. My mom is quick to share when a colorful sunset is happening. My dad, who has always been more comfortable outside than in, once owned a telescope to catch a glimpse of planets within view.

Blending my interests in the sky and technology have lead me to watching live streams of SpaceX missions. I catch the attention of friends with AR views of the sky with an iPhone app. It's fun to be able to point out that the star running across the night sky is actually the International Space Station.

When I saw this short film, I instantly vibed with it. How amazing that a telescope strategically placed in high-traffic areas can bring strangers together to bond over a close-up image of the moon. It makes me wish there were other obvious ways to have encounters like this more often.

Honorable Mentions: Podcasts

Earlier this week I listed my favorite/most listened to podcasts over the last few years. As any listener of podcasts knows, there's likely more than just 10 that you'll listen to. I guess the exception to this being if you happen to subscribe to many lengthy shows and you simply don't have time for more.

Podcasts are a medium that I truly enjoy - I listen to them more often than I do music. Because I don't want to leave out the other shows that I still listen to, I've listed them out below and included a small note about each. A simple search online should help you find each of these so you can start listening.

  • Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney. Baseball season is back! I have a huge love for the game. Admittedly, the season is long. Very long. Said, my interest in this season will depend largely on how good the Padres can be (or how long they can stay on the better half of 15 games behind first place). For now, I'll get my dose of baseball through this show.
  • Ear Hustle. The first season was eye opening. It's a look inside one of the most notorious prisons: San Quentin. The show is produced, in part, by prisoners and they interview others offering a unique perspective to what life is like behind bars. I've preferred this over Orange is the New Black.
  • Jocko Podcast. I'm a fan of Jocko's mindset. If I had 10% the grit this guy does I'd be maniacal. I was introduced to him when he was a guest on other shows and wanted to tune into his own venture. This show is relatively niche but I think anyone with an interest in leadership, military, or history would learn something from it. 
  • The Kevin Rose Show. This is a newer show but the topics explored are interesting to me. The word "hack" (as in hacking something) is thrown around a lot, but it's likely the best way to describe this show. Kevin brings on guests who are peak performers to discuss hacks in personal and professional life.
  • The Smart Passive Income Podcast. I enjoy learning about business and how businesses are run. You'd be surprised to learn about how many different ways there are to earn money on the internet. Someday soon I'll get it together long enough to put into practice some of what Pat Flynn teaches.
  • The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes. This show I stumbled across recently. Lewis gets a ton of high profile guests on, as well as some lesser known ones, that make for a well-balanced catalog. 

Podcasts I Love

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love podcasts. They are the easiest ways to consume information. There are podcasts available for everyone. Whatever interest you have or topic you'd like to hear discussed, you'd likely find a show to listen to. The best thing is that they're free. If you have a smart phone or computer, you can download a free app to search for thousands of free podcast series. 

I've done some pretty hard sells on podcasts over the last few years. If you're on my site it's safe to assume you have a general idea of what my interests are and I think you'd agree that my podcast preferences follow the trend. 

Below I've listed out 10 of my favorite podcasts. These are shows that I subscribe to and listen to regularly. I'd recommend nearly all of them to family and friends. Instead of giving straight reviews of each podcast I listen to, I figured I'd give some details on a more personal level. Maybe you care about what episodes are noteworthy in my mind. Or maybe you're curious to know why I continue to listen to these shows - that's down there. And because I listen to podcasts during our commute, I wanted to share whether or not I listen to these shows with Krystal (we carpool and I often sense her desire to be listening to music instead). Again, I think this might help provide some details about the show itself.

I tried to include links where appropriate for ease of finding resources online. If you check any of these out, or are already a listener, let me know! I'm also accepting suggestions for other shows - leave a comment!

How long have I been a subscriber? Since mid-2014.

What is the upload Frequency? Once weekly, on Tuesdays.

Do I listen to each episode? Most of them. I might start one that didn't resonate and give it up. I can remember recent times this occurred when the hosts experimented with the format of the show.

What's the format or theme? Hosted by Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Steph Crowder, the show focuses on online business and (solo) entrepreneurship. They've rotated hosts a few times, each of whom I truly enjoyed. 

Does it educate or entertain? Both! I learn about overcoming obstacles and get a good laugh that follow one particular host's impressions.

What about this keeps me interested? Different takes on online business. Though I've not tried, they have a paid member site with courses teaching the launch of a business that I understand to be in depth, but the conversations offer enough for a hobbyist like myself.

Do I listen with my wife? I used to. I think she prefers to listen to some of my other favorites.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. A recent favorite episode they released outlined ways to get over being on camera - it was a good reminder that the work you want to do shouldn't be overshadowed by a lack of self-confidence. I'd recommend this show to anyone who is running, or interested in launching an online business.

How long have I been a subscriber? Jordan was the host of a "not to be named" podcast previously. I subscribed to the old show and have moved to this new one once it launched in February 2018.

What is the upload Frequency? About 3 times weekly.

Do I listen to each episode? Yeah! So far his guests have not disappointed! 

What's the format or theme? Interview.

Does it educate or entertain? Educate. 

What about this keeps me interested? There's a bunch of tactical advise Jordan shares in these episodes and he doesn't let guests get away with responding to questions ambiguously. 

Do I listen with my wife? Yes. This show is family friendly (for the most part) and I think Krystal would happily pick up some of the wisdom shared.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. One of my favorite parts of this show is Feedback Fridays where listener questions come into the producer and answered during the 45 minutes or so. It's a good break from the interview style of the normal show. This show is an easy one to jump into and would recommend. A good place to start might be his episode with Gretchen Rubin. She describes 4 archetypes and gives some good advice on how to deal with them and overcome your own archetype.

How long have I been a subscriber? Since early 2016. I've even dug deep in the back catalog to listen to a few specific episodes.

What is the upload Frequency? 3-4 times per week.

Do I listen to each episode? Almost all of them. I might skip a few here and there. Lately, he's had quite a few comedians on the show and I've preferred to listen to some other shows in place of those.

What's the format or theme? Interviews with business leaders, thought leaders, authors and more.

Does it educate or entertain? Mainly educate. James' quirky personality is the unexpected entertainment in many episodes ("I don't mean to interrupt, but...").

What about this keeps me interested? James' interview style. He has a way of shamelessly asking questions that bring deep details out of guests. This is less formal than a lot of podcasts I listen to with similar value.

Do I listen with my wife? Yes. With all the podcasts I listen to, we like to guess what a person might look like based on their voice. When I first began listening to James, Krystal found a photo of him online and it all seemed to make sense to her (this is definitely not a negative comment).

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. I would recommend. Not to downplay this one, but this is a simple show to jump into. You're bound to find a guest in this catalog that looks familiar (Mark Cuban, anyone?).

How long have I been a subscriber? Early 2015.

What is the upload Frequency? Unscheduled, anywhere from 2-6 episodes in a week at 3 hours a pop!

Do I listen to each episode? Largely, yes. There are only a few regulars whom I might skip to make room for other shows.

What's the format or theme? Guests, conversational.

Does it educate or entertain? Both. You might find scientists come on to discuss latest study findings or nutrition one day, and some good friends of Rogan's on to shit talk the next day. 

What about this keeps me interested? Such a wide breadth of info being shared. Rogan is probably my favorite conversationalist. His ability to keep guests on and talking, and me listening, for 3 hours is unmatched.

Do I listen with my wife? Yes. There are a few recurring guests who males would find more interesting than females. I listen with Krystal's interest in mind.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. I respect Rogan for a lot of reasons, his knowledge is one of those. I would recommend to anyone looking for a laid back talk show with the potential to dive down a rabbit hole at any moment. Not every guest is a home run, but you'll always find something intriguing during the conversation! Try his latest episode with frequent guest Bryan Callen - he's a favorite of mine.

How long have I been a subscriber? Mid-2012.

What is the upload Frequency? Weekly, on Tuesdays.

Do I listen to each episode? Yes. 

What's the format or theme? Conversational. The 2 hosts discuss the "art, science and philosophy of photography and related creative topics. In a recent episode, it was reiterated by one host that they were more interested in the process than anything else - this summarizes it well. 

Does it educate or entertain? Mainly entertain. What I truly love about this show is that the conversations lead to introspection when conversation lands on the intangibles of creating art.

What about this keeps me interested? The personalities and the dynamic of the hosts. For the first 200 or so episodes, the hosts had only ever met in person a handful of times yet had such fluid and deep conversations. 

Do I listen with my wife? Generally not. The topic is a bit too niche for her.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. Yes! To anyone interested in photography: this show is a welcome break from the discussion about gear. 

How long have I been a subscriber? Mid-2015.

What is the upload Frequency? Unscheduled. The production quality is high so they don't push new episodes often. I do like that they'll revisit past episodes to update the story if new information is available.

Do I listen to each episode? For the most part. Sometimes they'll cross-promote sister shows and I'll skip this if my queue is particularly full. 

What's the format or theme? Science-based discussion about a single topic. 

Does it educate or entertain? Educate, for sure. 

What about this keeps me interested? There are new topics in each episode, mostly. The quality of this show is very good - maybe the best produced show I subscribe to. 

Do I listen with my wife? Yes, she has an interested in science and when genetics or animals are discussed she gets into the show.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. Yes. Anyone interested in new discoveries or those who want to learn about the world around us would be a fan of this show. They also discuss politics - I'd suggest listening to the recent episode The Curious Case of the Russian Flash Mob at the West Palm Beach Cheesecake Factory if you wanted to jump in.

How long have I been a subscriber? Early 2017. 

What is the upload Frequency? Twice weekly.

Do I listen to each episode? Yes. 

What's the format or theme? Generally the host speaks on practices to help people with creative jobs. Infrequently guests will join the host to discuss their area of expertise or to promote something. The guests are lesser-known, to me at least, but still offer a lot of information.

Does it educate or entertain? Educate. This show usually gives tips that are presented in an outlined fashion with commentary included. I like the "listicle"-type episodes since they're easy to follow along with (i.e. 5 Ways to Shake Up Your Creative Process).

What about this keeps me interested? The episodes are short. It's easy to get through a show pretty quickly since they run from 12-25 minutes a piece. I think the format/length is serving the topic well.

Do I listen with my wife? Generally not. This isn't one I think she'd appreciate during our afternoon commutes.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. I can't say I would, only because I can't think of too many people who would find value from this show. However, the writing the host does might interest those who live creative lives.

How long have I been a subscriber? Late 2017. However, I've been a longtime fan of his video interview show (of the same name).

What is the upload Frequency? Weekly.

Do I listen to each episode? Yes with the exception of a few. Some guests are a bit more ambiguous or are in a niche that I don't have a particular interest in. 

What's the format or theme? Interview with some solo shows and keynote presentation recordings peppered in.

Does it educate or entertain? Educate mainly. He takes a tack similar to Tim Ferriss (see below) in that they find high achievers in art and business.

What about this keeps me interested? For the same reason I might skip episodes, Chase gets guests that aren't on the regular podcast circuit. I'm bound to find someone I've not heard of before.

Do I listen with my wife? Yes. This is an easy listen in the car - not too technical for casual listening.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. Yes. Chase has a unique personality that leads his excitement to be shared to those that listen to each show. I'd suggest starting with a guest who's work I personally enjoy - Ryan Holiday (video).

How long have I been a subscriber? Mid-2017.

What is the upload Frequency? Released in seasons. 2 seasons have been shared in as many years.

Do I listen to each episode? Since I've subscribed, yes. I've also gone back and listened to select older releases.

What's the format or theme? A re-examination of past events. These are untold stories from (sometimes recent) history. 

Does it educate or entertain? Educate.

What about this keeps me interested? The host's, Malcolm Gladwell's, curiosity keeps me coming back. He has a knack for finding small details that have led to big outcomes. This show details those seemingly insignificant details.

Do I listen with my wife? I haven't, but I would! I recommended she listen to the episode that explained why and how McDonalds changed the recipe for their french fry.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. Yes. These untold stories are sure to catch the attention of someone with in interest in learning how things became as they are today.

How long have I been a subscriber? Late 2014. I listened since the infamous first episode!

What is the upload Frequency? 1-2 per week.

Do I listen to each episode? Yes.

What's the format or theme? Mainly interviews of guests. He explores the successes and failures of guests while pulling out habits that make them who they are. This often times brings details out that success can partially be attributed to.

Does it educate or entertain? Educate. There is a lot of practical wisdom hidden in these episodes.

What about this keeps me interested? The wide range of guests. Tim is intelligent, but I appreciate when he has guests beyond his realm of experience because the questions seem to dive a bit deeper as he explores and learns in real time.

Do I listen with my wife? Yes, I think she enjoys most episodes we listen to together.

Do I recommend this podcast? and last words. I highly recommend this show. One of my most suggested podcasts is Tim's interview with Jamie Foxx. It is such an incredible show that led to me having a lot more respect for Foxx.

The Task at Hand

There are days when I’m in the groove. Headphones in, head down, productive as ever. It’s like an out-of-body experience when you can sense distractions all around but none seem to knock you off course.

Every so often, the groove becomes a rut. You get stuck. Minor problems seem insurmountable. Critical thinking abilities seem to have taken the day off and physical/mental laziness sets in. It’s moments like this where a reset button would benefit.

It’s best to step back, assess and take a single step forward. Get dressed for a work out. Open a blank document. Sit up straight and adjust your perspective. Whatever it is, I break it down into manageable items and then progress through each. This is because productivity is what we strive for, we can’t afford to retreat to unannounced, or unwelcome, states of mind.

The next time I find myself in a rut when things need to get done I’m going to repeat this phrase to myself: 

“If nothing else, at least this”

This will serve as my reminder that if this is the only task I complete today, at least it’s one thing that can be checked off the list. At the end of the day, I should be able to look back and think at least that was done


Clouds mixing with the mountains from my backyard

How To: Seamless Multi-image Instagram Post

Instagram added a cool new feature in the last year or so that allows multiple images to be included in a single post. This is nice when you don't want to burden your followers with a bunch of images in individual posts, but people got creative and took single images and created a seamless panorama the users need to swipe through to see. If you use Lightroom - Photoshop at a minimum - this tutorial will use the tools you already have. I'm sure they can be adapted to other programs as well.

I'm not the first to do this and it took some research to actually figure it out myself. My Photoshop skills have waned over the last 12 years or so, but it's always fun to get back into it. Let me know if this helped, or if you find it interesting!

1. Decide what aspect ratio you want your photo to be and how many divisions you want. I'll use an image from Swamis Beach cut into 3 individual frames. Each frame I want to be portrait orientation. Because Instagram allows portrait orientation to fit within a 4x5 aspect, we'll need to crop it into an aspect ratio of 12x5. We find this by the individual frames we want (3/1) and multiply it by the native Instagram ratio (4/5). You'll need to select "Enter Custom" from the aspect drop down options in Lightroom.

 Note the crop of 12x5 for the overall look we're hoping for.

Note the crop of 12x5 for the overall look we're hoping for.

2. Right click on the photo and choose Edit In Photoshop. This should be easy for you Creative Cloud Photography Package subscribers. If your computer is as slow as mine, Photoshop will require 455 seconds to open -_-

 Most of the work to get the end result is done in Photoshop.

Most of the work to get the end result is done in Photoshop.

3. Once Photoshop actually shows signs of life, click on View from the toolbar and select "New Guide Layout. You'll want to update the number of columns to 3 (as we decided earlier on) - nothing else should be active or clicked in this window.

 New Guide Layout.

New Guide Layout.

4. Click on the Slice tool and select "Slices From Guides" at the very top of window. This creates the 3 separate frames we'll later export.

 The Slice Tool will cut along the guides you just created.

The Slice Tool will cut along the guides you just created.

5. Let's resize the image using the "Image Resize" option from the Image drop down menu in the toolbar. Instagram, like all social media, downsizes your images upon upload. This website has been a handy reference for me in the past. We want to resize the image to the maximum allowed.. Since instagram allows 1080 pixels on the width, we'll want to multiply that by 3 (number of frames). 3240 is the magic number for all you math geeks. The height will automatically adjust to maintain the aspect ratio we defined before. As soon as you hit OK you'll watch your high-resolution photo shrink to a much smaller size. 

 Some quick math should get you to where you need to be for the appropriate image size.

Some quick math should get you to where you need to be for the appropriate image size.

6a. Now it's time to export. Go to File, Export and select Save for Web. I prefer to save simply as a JPEG, making sure the quality is at 100%. The hit Save.

 I like JPEG and since this is only heading to Instagram, I leave it at 100 Quality.

I like JPEG and since this is only heading to Instagram, I leave it at 100 Quality.

6b. Now you'll get to select where you can save the files. IMPORTANT: make certain that the Slice drop down menu has "All Slices" selected! All 3 frames will be saved within a single folder (labeled "images" when I do this) at the selected save location.

 Photoshop will lump all the frames in a single folder and number them for you so it's not like putting a puzzle together!

Photoshop will lump all the frames in a single folder and number them for you so it's not like putting a puzzle together!

7. Now get these files to your phone because you're ready to post these to Instagram! Just don't forget to include all of these in a single post!

 Await the flood of Likes and new Followers who will most certainly rush in simply by forcing them to swipe to see an entire image.

Await the flood of Likes and new Followers who will most certainly rush in simply by forcing them to swipe to see an entire image.

The Great Grandparents Meet Aliyah

Chad made his way down to San Diego from LA last weekend and brought with him Amanda and Aliyah. This was the first opportunity much of the family had to meet Aliyah - our grandparents meeting their Great Granddaughter!

I've tried to be as intentional as possible with my camera, making sure memories of these moments aren't subject to memory alone. It was fun to see how excited everyone was to hold the newest member of the family. My family is relatively small - there aren't many little ones running around - which makes this special. 

I hope to be able to capture more moments like this every time I'm around Aliyah. These will be the stories her parents tell her when she's older!

A Reminder to Make Pictures

Today, take a photo. Have the intention to pick up the camera. Trigger the shutter. If you're already out, camera in hand, and you want to take another - do it. If it turns out the photo you make today can't be reviewed tonight, don't worry. The images can stay on your camera until you get around to it.

When tomorrow comes, consider taking another photo. Just the same way you did yesterday. And just like yesterday, it's going to be hard to transition from not taking photos to taking photos. Once you take that first step of bringing your camera out of your bag, you'll be closer to making an image than you were just a moment ago. 

If you were to consider what it means to overcome the barrier between making an image and not making an image, it could be boiled down to a simple phrase: doing it. The void between nothing and something is doing it. Action is better than no action and having an image is better than not having an image. The camera does not decide when it wants to take photos. That's up to you. The good news is that the camera is always ready. Don't make the camera wait.

 Sony a6300 from my Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Sony a6300 from my Peak Design Everyday Backpack