ravenguild08 replied to your post: I havent been studying as well as I would like to for the SAT. I have taken a course with Kaplan but they are kind of a waste of money. I wanted to take the SAT in December this year but doing you think studying for a month if enough? Would it be better to just wait and take it at a time I maybe more prepared. Thanks for your help!

one message ive heard many times is that if you are motivated to study on your own, prep classes have little to offer other than the books and practice tests. their main benefit is an external obligation to follow a regimen.

^true!

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Learning Landscapes

In August 2012, just starting photography, I challenged myself with a 365 project. I brought my new point’n’shoot everywhere I went to snap photos of old things in new lights. My first interesting shot was #82, “A Street Reflection.”

Through this photo, I gained a newfound appreciation for the timing which created the soft shadows on the buildings and the orange cottony cloud, Still, the shot had a busy composition and was technically sloppy, an aggressive crop on one of twenty tries.

Over the months, I paid attention during golden hour to aspects like the direction and tone of sunlight. I sought to simplify landscapes and let rare colors rule the composition. Soon, it was my camera bringing me to new vistas. My last week in Boston, I was determined to watch the sun rise over the water, so I made 25-mile bike ride in the dead of night to capture #260, “Twilight Pier.”

I moved to California, bought a fancy DSLR setup, and started a new job. My macro lens opened up a whole new world of subjects, and incidentally I started a bit of portraiture. Still, with casual landscape photography, I had a simple strategy: be in the right places at the right time. For instance, I made a frantic 400-mile drive to catch dusk in #356, “Golden Golden Gate.”

Worth it.

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Top 5 of 2013

  1. dandelion.
  2. tourist of new york.
  3. water splash.
  4. fog at dawn.
  5. the stars.

Considering 2013 was the majority of my photographic career, there wasn’t much searching to be done. I chose one shot from each type of photography I favor: macro, urban bokeh, single-shot projects, landscapes, minimalistic night.

Thank you for following me on my journey through the world of photography! Here’s to an even more spectacular 2014!

-peter, aka ravenguild08

Watch on ravenguild08.tumblr.com

I solve a Rubik’s Cube one-handed while playing the intro of Clair de Lune one-handed.

a photography journey

This is a piece I wrote for my applications, where I reflect on my year of photography and how it has changed me. Included are links to some mentioned photos that are especially close to me.

Special thanks to all of you on Tumblr, who made this journey possible and so wonderful! I couldn’t have done it without you.

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One year ago, I was not a visual person. When I walked, I stared at my feet and let my vision drift out of focus. When I talked, I didn’t even think to hold eye contact. Therefore, when I obtained my humble-point-and-shoot camera as a graduation gift, I realized that I had wasted four years in Boston hardly appreciating my surroundings. I vowed to take a picture a day for a year to see if it could open my eyes.

I began to notice the beauty of familiar scenes, like the striking autumn trees towering above Harvard Yard that I walked through thousands of times yet somehow failed to appreciate. To better utilize my camera, I read about photographic concepts like white balance and bokeh, and then pored over others’ photos to see how they applied those concepts. Angles, shadows, the daily rhythm of light, I gained a subtle awareness of them all.

My little camera led me outside to explore and experiment with the natural beauty surrounding me. It showed me fresh perspectives like gazing into puddles in the streets, looking up sides of parking structures, or squinting at tiny details of my gloves. It ushered me to remarkable places like over a coastal precipice in San Francisco, through the slot canyons of Arizona, and across the white sand dunes of New Mexico.

Yet, it wasn’t enough to merely be in the right place. My camera taught me to capture those fleeting moments: a rare blackout in Harvard Yard, a child perfectly framed in bright lights, the two days when flowers bloom before leaves sprout. Photography demands patience to persevere through the wrong places, the wrong times, and the 10000 snaps that yield maybe ten worthy photographs.

Thus, my little camera has turned me into a wanderer, forever chasing the next intriguing shot. At some point, perhaps between braving one of Boston’s harshest blizzards and biking 30 miles at 2 AM, it stopped being about the pictures and more about the adventures. I love the exhilaration of the excursions I embark upon to discover these beautiful moments, and the photographs I capture become the perfect mementos.

Now, I own professional-grade lenses and act as official photographer at work. Exploring the morning fog of Santa Barbara, my first project with the new camera, has been the most exciting and successful yet. Even without my camera, I notice how people’s eyes twinkle when excited and how they crinkle when smiling. Pursuing photography has, quite literally, changed how I see the world. 

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