On the #NFT Journey

Kestrel

Buzz word, hot topic in the creative and the crypto world. I don’t know if I saw this coming or not. Hard to say. I’ve always been aware of our ever-changing world, especially living in such a speedily-evolving technology age. It’s a fast world, and sometimes difficult to keep up. I was not unaware of the evolving word of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. I’ve been dabbling in mixed media, and working with a heavy learning curve for Adobe Photoshop and all the nuances to utilizing that program, as well as Lightroom.

This is a journey I’m on as I begin to explore the world of #nft. That is, non-fungible tokens. A new concept that my son presented me with a few weeks ago. I was intrigued as I sometimes can be by new, shiny things. Can’t be sure where it will take me, but here I am, always learning new things, always up for a new challenge. Always about absorbing new information, tracking new techniques, seeing things in a new way.

Was I somewhat aware of the million-dollar auction at Christie’s of an NFT piece of art? Somewhat. I recall thinking it was an interesting bit of news. But it wasn’t until a discussion with my son, who’s more into the sports collectibles and had been looking at digital sports cards for a while, that my curiosity was piqued.

Down the rabbit hole I go.

Being a research kind of gal, I’ve scoured lots of articles and YouTube videos, and have probably filled half a notebook of information with printed out articles stuffed in the back.

I try to do things in an orderly fashion. I’m a lister and a goal setter. Do first, do second, etc. The first thing was to begin learning the vocabulary, not just for NFTs, but for the world of cryptocurrency. Starting with the definition of a non-fungible token, and the word, ethereum, one of the main digital currencies in use today. Of course, after reading a number articles/blogs about NTFs, led me to a whole range of words that required research, and so down the rabbit hole I went.

Many hoops to jump through, and familiarizing myself with terms like, “exchange,” “wallet,” “ethereum,” “gas.” “Minting,” “smart contracts,” and then the various sites to list on such as, Mintable, Rarible, Openseas, and others. I have a spreadsheet to track the fluctuation in gas prices to get a sense of best/worst times to convert, mint, etc.,etc. Oh, yes, and “fiat” and “gwei.” These are the starting points.

First deduction, I’m probably going to lose money as I start out and begin to navigate this whole new world to me. There seem to be a lot of variable “gas” fees along the way that are very hard to pin down. I accept that fact. The idea is to not lose more than necessary. Whichever way I go, it’s going to take at least a small investment of money, not to say a large investment of time. These facts I accept.

It’s a bit scary navigating these waters, in a crypto world so volatile, a challenge to energy consumption, the fact it could be a techno bubble, and/or it could blossom i to something very cool and empowering for photographers, visual artists, creatives as a whole. I mean, being able to “mint” a unique digital image, track its ownership, receive a measure of royalties on each sale up the line. Interesting and intriguing.

At this stage, I’ve taken a leap. I’ve set up with an exchange, Coinbase, where they threw in an infintisimal amount of Bitcoin as a thank you for signing up. I’ve set up with the generally recommended wallet, Metamask. Metamask is an extension on Google Chrome, and I believe Firefox, etc., as well. I’ve begun working on a profile at Openseas.io. I’ve done my first exchange of USD to the cryptycurrency, ethereum (ETH), at Coinbase, and transferred it to Metamask. Not too much at first, because there can be some pitfalls with that. But, happily that all worked well. I’ve created a collection at Openseas, and added a few images. The final part of listing an item for sale will need to wait a bit, but coming soon.

As I said, this is a journey. I’m still learning. The crypto world is a different world, it’s not a world I recommend leaping into, but cautiously stepping in and looking around. Would I like to make a bit of money from this experience? Well, yes. But truthfully, I find it exciting, and challenging, and really quite creatively inspiring.

By the way, soon you’ll find me at TG_ArtEclectic.

TG_ArtEclectic

More news to come as I make this journey into the crypto world.

Frogs so tiny you miss them

Tree frog at Nisqually Wilflife Refuge

These tiny tree frogs can be easy to miss. Spring and summer are when I tend to see them at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It can be a challenge to discover them on plant leaves and in knotholes along the boardwalk.

Oddly, I find that once I spot one, then I usually see many more. They are varied in color and often can blend in seamlessly with their environment. So tiny and fun to photograph.

Happy New Year to everyone. Let’s all envision an abundant, kind, and safe 2021!

Mushrooms and Natural Light

I love the glimmers of sunlight in the forest. No flashlight, no extra processing to get the light just right. Sometimes the sun sends down interesting rays of sunshine that capture those dark corners of the forest and highlight something just slightly magical. Capturing that special light can be quite the challenge.

I often expect a fairy to peek over the side of one of these mushrooms. The most I can get are butterflies in spring and summertime. But not in the fall and winter when mushrooms are at their grandest. But at least the winter sun offer some lovely illumination at this time of year.

Red-Tailed Hawk Above

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed hawk doing a fly-by, intent on its destination. Another of the birds of prey. Rarely will I find hawks stick around for very long in order for me to get a good shot. They tend to thwart me more times than not. But on occasion I can get a decent shot.

Late fall and early winter are the times when I have my best chance of getting a decent hawk photo as they seem to be around more during that time of year. This one was taken in November.

Cedar Waxwing and Red Holly Berries

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar waxwings flocked to this holly tree one early fall. I had several days of photographic opportunity to observe these birds as they picked this holly tree clean of red berries at their leisure.

I sat in the car, and watched the birds, using the car as a sort of blind since the tree was next to the driveway. Loved watching these little guys as they interacted and enjoyed a plethora of berries, keeping me very entertained for quite some time. And a generous helping of photos to sort through once they were gone.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Eagle After the Rain

Bald eagles are a predatory bird that I see more often than one might expect. This one appeared to be drying off after a rainstorm, or perhaps after diving for a salmon for its lunch.

This is not a bird I often see close up, so, again, a long lens is necessity, especially since the trees are very tall, and eagles always like to take that top seat to get the best place to survey the world around. Again, if I’m out and about early in the morning, when few others are walking or running the trails, I have a better chance of seeing them nearby to photograph.

Wintering Swans

White Trumpeter Swan rising from the water

Swans arrive in winter and stay around till February. Just the other day a saw a wedge of swans flying by as I was out hiking. So, I’ll be looking for them as usual this year. Such graceful, lovely birds to watch and photograph, sometimes on the lakes, sometimes in the fields. If I can get out early in the morning I find them easier to spot on the water in smaller groups, sometimes called bevies. Further north, and I can get a glimpse of tundra swans, closer to home we see trumpeter swans. They winter with us for a short time, and then they move on.

White Trillium and Spring

White Trillium Wildflowers

One of the first wildflowers I always look for in the spring is the trillium. This one is a Western Wake Robin, or trillum ovatum, that blooms early in the spring, and is a wildflower that I often see deep in the forest. Bright spots all along the trail. Wake Robin because it’s a flower that blooms before the Robin begins nesting in the early spring.

The white trillium is thought to be a symbol of purity and recovery; also thought to symbolize the Christian trinity, among other interpretrations.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker, Fir Road, Skagit County

Downy woodpecker taken from an extreme distance. There are times when I take a photograph, but I’m not exactly certain what species of bird I’ve gotten until I get back to my computer to process images. This happened to be one of those images.

One of the fun aspects of photography is the surprise encounters. When I go out with my camera, I expect surprises because one cannot anticipate what nature and wildlife will appear on any given trip. Even if I’ve been there time and again, something new and different is always likely to occur. it might be a bird, it might be a flower, it might be an insect, it might even be a structure, anything can happen. As it happens this was my first trip to the wildlife refuge near Fir Road, in Skagit County. I hope to get back up there sometime in the near future. But for now, staying close to home. I’m glad I did get the chance to get there last year.

It’s about remaining open to the possible as well as the impossible, the expected, and the unexpected, be it familiar territory or unfamiliar territory. It’s never boring.

Junco with Personality

Junco at Mt. Ranier

Junco at Mt. Ranier, where you can usually find some snow even in summer. This little guy was perched at Paradise at the top of the mountain. He sort of looks like he’s ready to have a conversation starting with, “Who are you and what are you doing on my mountain?” Or maybe, “Got anything good to eat?”