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.

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.

Angels as Guardians

Angel Guardian at a Cemetery

Silence and atmosphere in a cemetery is very different from being in the forest. As with anywhere I take photographs, or where I walk or hike, I step carefully, I listen, and I allow my instincts to direct me.

In a cemetery, there’s this undercurrent of human whispering, which you can sense in the wind as it blows through the branches, in the cool feel of a marble statue or bench, the hard edges of mosaic laid into the ground, the smooth edges of new tombstone, or the the roughened, weathered edges of one created a century ago.

History and lives lived cling closely to the experience of walking among the remembrances of the departed. It is a place that reminds one to live each day to the fullest, to live it mindfully, and not take life for granted.

Photography, for me, isn’t just about taking pictures, it’s about the experience created behind each photograph I take. It’s about the emotion brought forth. It’s all about the captured moment.

This image, combined with several other angel images, is available as a downloadable digital sheet of journal cards in my Etsy shop.

Carousel – Times Gone by

Carousel Horse Profile

The merry-go-round, a handsome carousel horse. Remembered moments from a childhood, from parenting, from magical moments inflused with laughter, gaiety, people, summer, and moments of shared excitements and spontaneity. That’s what photography is, to me. Moments captured, memories preserved. A precise moment, the scents and sounds and colors permeating the image, and the experience.

This image is available for purchase on Zazzle.

Textured in Stone

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Textures, colores, curves, and shapes. The details of imagery. Like a turtle shell, bright and standing out from the dark background surrounding it. Details in nature are so intriguing to me. The only way to really discover it is to stand quietly for a moment. Listen, then slowly scan the area. Study the environment. Use the microscope and zero in. Maybe a color, maybe a texture, maybe just a very slight movement.

Details, details

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I am, you know. All about the details, natural details, in our environment. Like thie pinec cone. Love this design. There is such an intimacy to macro photography, so very up close and personal. Sometimes we get so busy, we miss the detail. We gloss over things, we don’t stop, and really look, admire, attend to, the details in live. We’ve become much too fast of a culture. Nature is rejuvenating. It isn’t always about the big picture, sometimes it’s just a second, a monent, a detail, like this pine cone.

I have this habit of walking and then stopping. Just standing there and waiting, of admiring, of aborbing my surroundings.  It’s that moment of realigning to the the initimacy of details. I love the details.

Macro and Bees

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When I first got the Tamron 90mm lens of course it was time to play. and spend lots of time learning. I have several tripods. One is a heavy duty tripod for when I’m using the 100-650 lens, and then at the oppose end of the spectrum, I have a lightweight tripod that folds up neatly to fit into my camera bag. I usually carry this one with me so I have something to work with, and it can hold my 18-400mm lens in a pinch as long as I’m steadying the frame. But mostly, I use the lightweight for macro work and getting close to the ground, or as in this instance, close to the bee as its collecting pollen.

Found a great buy on a trip last spring. Five dollars and I have found it to be about the best tripod that can handle from the heavy lens to the lightweight, and not an onorously heavy tripod. Older, but by golly it gets the job done.  It isn’t about the cost of the tripod, in the end, it’s about what works for you as the photographer. This I have found to be true.

Looking Up From Our Daily Lives and our Cell Phones

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Animals and their actions, their patience, their alertness can teach us so much about relating to our environments.

Magical moments are everywhere, as we gaze around us. Intriguing as we note the outline of a shape, spot something move, eye an irreguliarity that captures our imagination. Curves and outlines and shadows, the way the clouds sift across the sky, cottony or flattened stripes, or sheets that mingle and intertwine to form recognizable shapes. Tree branches creating shadows, pine cones and pine needles of different curvatures and sizes. Acorns with caps and without. The slow progress of a snail. A single feather lying among fallen leaves. These are the subtleties of nature.

Broaden our vision, narrow when necessary, stop, study, refine patience and an attention to really see and experience the world around us.