Exaggerated focus

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis

With apps like Instagram, CameraFX and even Photoshop Express one does have a large variety of tools of the trade to chose from to be creative. I’ve got a common job like every other common, working person that does not leave me enough room to carry my SLRs with me to wherever I want. I also do not have the chance to process my pictures in Lightroom each and every time I want to. So I took the quote by Chase Jarvis and made it my personal challenge. My phone is my buddy that’s with me all the time and it’s the device that captures pictures when I’m without my beloved SLRs.

Of course, I’m limited to a file format like JPEG that does me the opportunities like RAW does. I barely have any  option to do any preprocessing like choosing the aperture or the exposure. And the quality itself cannot be compared to the results you would receive with a professional SLR processor and sensor. But these things do not actually matter, what matters is the composition.

One of my weaknesses in photography is an exaggerated focus on technical details and in reverse I often fail on the rules of composition. The phone camera gives me a fine chance to take pictures pretty basic. As previously mentioned, the quality does not matter. With a picture that may deserve it, I can also wait till I’m home and edit it in Photoshop to get it top notch.

I hated Instagram for quite a long time, because it’s yet another app with filters and effects. After a period of giving it a try, I finally came to the conclusion that it’s a good way to process pictures quickly and easy. And you’ve also got a good way to share them with your friends or publicly. One might say, one can do this with almost every other app as well, but I finally felt comfortable with the Instagram community and I don’t like to share every sodding picture on Facebook. The opinion of a complete, unprejudiced strangers counts more to me, than an opinion of a friend on Facebook.

I’m not going to post these mobile pictures in communities like deviantART or 500px. I still believe that these platforms were made to display artworks with a high standard and even (semi) professional artworks. Even though they do look “pretty fine” I still believe that these mobile phone camera pictures do not belong there. Additionally, there are billions of people out there that share pictures like these on almost every common social network, there’s nothing special about them in a hobbyist way. You don’t need any more of them spread out.

So for me it’s a good way to improve my composition skills and learn. With Instagram I’m also limited to square format. Which makes it easier on one side, but also difficult on the other side. I do not only use Instagram, CameraFX is another great app as well and even Photoshop Express does the trick. If you’re interested in my pictures, search and follow ‘InV4d3r’ on Instagram.

SE 3.0 – Interim Report – #2

Two weeks ago I gave you guys a short report about the current progress of how well or bad things actually are. First of all the good news, I’m still into sports and gym and I’ve managed to go at least three or four times per week, depending on the week’s schedule.

The second good news, my overall condition gets better and better. I’m getting more used to the cardio training and the training sessions are not as exhausting as they’ve been in the very first weeks back in May. My main focus is still on the the treadmill with sessions up to 65 minutes. I do not increase the speed, only the session time to have quite a good amount of fat burning. Increasing the speed will not happen before September or October.

Besides the treadmill my second machine of choice is the spinning machine with a moderate or high drag, depending on my condition. As a person who uses the bike for almost everything, I can easily handle higher difficulties. I also stick to a moderate speed that I usually drive out on the street. Difference here is, once again, the time and the continuity. Riding the bike for forty minutes constantly on the street and in the city as well is barely possible.

Apart from the whole endurance training comes the strength training in one training session per week. Until now it is not a training that I use to get giant muscles, it’s more to help the supporting muscles grow, like back, belly, legs, arms and shoulder. Focus here is the back and the belly. The most important thing to get good training results is to have a well trained centre. Well, that’s what I’ve heard from a fitness trainer years ago and I still stick with it.

My weight hasn’t actually decreased that much. The scale  bounces between 105,9kg, which was the lowest value after a training session, and 109,4kg, which was the highest value after the wedding feast last weekend. The current average is around 107,5kg. I wasn’t expecting and still am a drop of weight before the third month of this “project”.

Just a short reminder, this whole thing was meant to be something that could last for quite a long, long time in my daily schedule. The first two projects where set for a specific period and I then abandoned sports and got fat and unathletic again. I try to avoid this by finding a way to integrate sports and healthy nutrition in my daily life without feeling the lack of anything. For now, I can say, it’s running pretty smooth and good. Here and there are some things in my food plan that shouldn’t be there, but I’m aware of that and I try to avoid or replace them with something different.

As you can see, I’m making progress and everything looks very promising. Hopefully the weight will drop in about a month or so. We’ll see.

SE 3.0 – Interim Report – #1

In mid May did I announce my new personal challenge or project or whatever you want to call it named Straight Edge 3.0

A few weeks have passed since then and I actually refused to post anything about this whole thing, simply because I wanted to ensure that it is actually rolling. And it does. I finally managed to get to the gym at least four times a week and follow my workout plan. It’s basically about doing fat burning activities like treadmill, spinning and elliptical.


Being a commuter makes this whole thing pretty damn exhausting and my spare is shrunken to an absolute minimum since doing sports during the week. But I’ve to face this challenge. I’ve put my strength and muscle training on Fridays and it costs quite an effort to actually get the workout plan done. But it’s getting better as time passes by. My stamina has improved since the beginning. The growth of muscles is currently quite low, but that’s logical regarding the fact, that strength training is currently a very small amount of my whole workout plan.

I guess, I’ll stick to cardio training as a majority of my training plan for at least another two month. It also depends on how I make progress when it comes to losing weight and developing a better stamina.

The strength training is pretty basic at the moment. It’s mostly exercises for my back, the legs and arms. I haven’t started doing sit-ups or crunches yet. This will follow up by the end of June/beginning of July.

In cardio training is my current main focus on the treadmill. Simply because it’s something that challenges me the most and on the other hand it burns the most fat. The elliptical is more a machine that I use to “cool down”. Spinning is something in between these two. In case that I’m quite satisfied with the progress I’ll add the rowing machine to my workout plan.

My nutrition has changed more to a healthier kind. I’ve also banned things like chocolate, candy and such from my menu. In addition did I cancel Coke and Pepsi as well. There’s one day per week where I eat more “taste oriented”. The menu for the rest of the week mainly consists of fruits, vegetables and food with a high amount of protein, like chicken or curd. Several meals also include very hot chili peppers to keep the fat machine burning. Actually, after cooking such things the kitchen feels like a chemical warfare and your eyes start to burn.

As you can see, Straight Edge 3.0 is going very well and I’m quite satisfied with the current results. I do not expect a massive weight decrease right now or an ultra high stamina in just three or four weeks. The main key to success in this project is patience. The previous Straight Edge challenged were more focused on quick results and I actually had no plan on how to continue for a longer period. I hope, I can keep this up for at least half a year now.