So, it's been really hot here in Lancaster County for the past few weeks. We're supposed to get record-high temperatures today. Which sucks, because (due to some weird circumstances; that's another story...) I've got today "off." And I've got a new camera, a new lens, and a new membership to Longwood Gardens, which is a beautiful place to shoot. But, not so much fun when it's over 100 degrees and humid.
Yet it still feels like a Photography Day. So what are some alternatives for Photography Day, when you can't or don't want to actually go outside take pictures yet you still want to feel like a photographer? (yes, I'm aware that you can take pictures inside too but that kills the topical tie-in with our current weather situation so I'll thank you to not comment on that)
In no particular order:
Make sure your photo library backups are in-order (including catalogs, if you use Lightroom or Aperture or iPhoto or something similar)
Cull your library and delete all those blurry photos you marked for deletion in Bridge or Lightroom, but forgot to actually delete.
Check out some photography training videos on Lynda.com - they've got great lessons on everything from mastering composition and shooting in natural light to using Photoshop. And they have free trials.
Pull out your camera manual and flip to random pages. You wouldn't believe all the little tidbits hiding in there! I'm keeping mine in the bathroom from now on (with PDF versions on my computer, iPhone, and iPad of course). What, you don't read in the bathroom? Right. Listen, I'm the only one in this household who does, and I read at least four times as many books as anyone else here, so get over yourself.
Check out other photographers in your zip code. Start at the Professional Photographers of America web site (which I'm considering joining for the equipment insurance). Most of the members have web sites and online galleries. Some will make you feel horrible about your skills; others will boost your confidence in your own abilities. So it's a wash. But, you can see different styles, poses, approaches to group shots, etc. Then try them out on your next shoot. Steal ideas (nothing new under the sun, yadda yadda yadda...). The other great thing about scoping-out local photographer web sites is that you can sometimes find out about great area locations for portraits and family shots.
Spend some quality time at your favorite photography-oriented web sites. There is SOOO much good stuff out there, it's unreal. I especially like sites with user forums. It's fascinating to read questions, answers, and opinions from photogs ranging from $15,000 per gig wedding photographers to gear-nuts to "Soccer Sally's." (my favorites listed at the end).
Calibrate your monitor.
Check your photo printer's ink supply. Just like your driver's license renewal, getting new ink carts is NOT something that's fun to try to do at the last second.
Clean-up your gear. If you haven't done an in-camera sensor cleaning in a while, now's a good time. Read the manual first (it's in the bathroom). Dust off your lenses. Don't forget your camera bag. One time, I had all my gear out of it, turned it upside down to shake out what I thought were a few leaves and twigs - and was amazed at the crap that came out.
Replace the worn-off incremental tape you put on your tripod legs. What?! You've never put tape on your tripod legs to mark off equal units on all three legs? Silly boy/girl! What, you don't own or use a tripod? You're even sillier than I thought!
Scan all your gear receipts and update your equipment list (including serial numbers, purchase date and location, and price paid). And save those files somewhere in the cloud, like Google Docs or Dropbox. If your gear ever gets stolen or lost in a flood or fire, you'll appreciate having this info for your insurance company. It's also helpful if you decide to sell a lens on eBay or Craig's List - you'll know what you paid for everything.
Mess around with photography apps on your iPad
Figure out a way to become independently wealthy so that you can build a bitchin' studio in your basement and break into the supermodel portfolio niche.
How about you? What do you do with your photography hobby when you can't actually be outside taking pictures?
Favorite Photography Resources on the Web: