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This month the Get It Scrapped creative team took on ways to capture stories before scrapbooking. Here’s my page:

Bon Appetite by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Prix Fixe, Forever Young, Star Gazer, Day Trippers by One Little Bird; Cooked Element Pack, So Fine Element Pack, Gator Crossing Element Pack by Katie Pertiet; Sprinkles v 24 by Valerie Wibbens

Bon Appetite by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Prix Fixe, Forever Young, Star Gazer, Day Trippers by One Little Bird; Cooked Element Pack, So Fine Element Pack, Gator Crossing Element Pack by Katie Pertiet; Sprinkles v 24 by Valerie Wibbens

For this page I told the story of an impromptu chili night that I hosted earlier this winter. I took a picture and shared it on Facebook with a comment about not knowing how to control the amount of chili I make. (Seriously, I always make a TON.) I didn’t take any pictures when people were at my house, so I then used the photo on my scrapbook page to document the event plus the little personality bit about always making too much chili. Other ways that I’ve captured stories that I’ve eventually used for scrapbooking include the blog, Story Swoop at Get It Scrapped (seriously, if you haven’t tried it you should!) and even putting the story into the caption field of the metadata when organizing my photos.

Watching: Dr Who. (That’s right, nerd alert!) I’m on a 1 week catch up plan thanks to a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. After watching the first episode of Season 5, though, I wanted to just start right there and keep watching …

Anticipating: No big travel plans for the next 4 weeks. I think that’s the first time I can say that this year.

Listening/Reading:Spillover: Animal Infection and the Next Human Pandemic” by David Quammen. The Ebola chapter was particularly interesting and kind of scary given everything going on in West Africa right now.

Eating: Chicken salad made with the whole roasted chickens they sell at Pick n Pay. I pick all the meat off the bones, shred it up a bit, add almonds, grapes and mayo. Delicious!

Working On: A regular dog walking schedule now that it’s light until almost 6pm. It’s amazing what 30 more minutes of daylight can add to your productivity.

Wanting: To go camping just as soon as the overnight temperatures get to double digits around here.

Playing: Plants vs Zombies 2. Addicted.

I read an interesting article this week on the psychology of why we love songs from when we were teenagers more than current music. According to the article:

Brain imaging studies show that our favorite songs stimulate the brain’s pleasure circuit, which releases an influx of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good. The more we like a song, the more we get treated to neurochemical bliss, flooding our brains with some of the same neurotransmitters that cocaine chases after.

The article goes on about why this is particularly true when you are between the ages of 12-22 years because the “pleasure circuits” are more like fireworks than sparks. Of course it got me thinking about songs that have specific memories for me. Unsurprisingly many of these are from when I was 12-22 years old and also unsurprisingly, according to the article, many of my memories are attached to dancing to that particular song. Some are recent and I wonder if they will remain in my memory the same way the songs from when I was younger have.

So, without further ado and with little explanation, here are the songs that came to mind when I was reading the article. I’d love to hear yours in the comments!

First boyfriend

First kiss

Maseru dance parties

Playing volleyball on the courts in front of my dorm in university

College debate team

and the entire 1200 Curfew album by the Indigo Girls

Attending church dances with my first boyfriend, before I was old enough to officially date

High school trip to Washington, DC

High school in general

julychallenges

Left to right from top left: 1) Template challenge, 2) Product challenge, 3) Scraplift challenge, 4) BYOC challenge, 5) One Word challenge (silly) and 6) Random challenge.

After completing 7 layouts for the April challenges at The Lilypad, I went into a huge creative slump. It wasn’t because of the challenges, I just wasn’t in the mood to create. So for the last few months I have basically only completed my monthly assignments for the Get It Scrapped Creative Team and that’s it. Generally I’m okay with having creative slumps. I scrapbook for quality not quantity so if I don’t feel like it for awhile I just take that as a hint I need to do something else.

In July I finally started to get some of my mojo back and completed 6 layouts for the July challenges – enough for the 30% off discount. Once again even after starting from different points in the process (starting with a template, starting with a story, starting with product, etc.) I still see my style come through in the pages. The August challenges look do-able, so I’m going to make my best attempt again.

 

While I was in Copenhagen I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Photographers so that I could start using Lightroom. The package also includes Photoshop CC, but I’m not planning to use it for now because I REALLY like Photoshop Elements for scrapbooking and see no reason to switch. I decided that $9,99 was worth it just for Lightroom.

I took the move to Lightroom as an opportunity to refine my photo organization process. Awhile back I wrote about how I organize my digital scrapbooking supplies but I haven’t had a similar system for my photos. With this new found interest in photo organization I thought that documenting my process here might be useful to someone plus explaining has helped me to cement my flow.

Overview: I have almost 10 years of digital photos. My goal with photo organization is to find my photos amongst the literally 1,000s on my external hard drive. Duh. Right now I keep my pictures in folders by year and month (yyyy-mm). So it’s easy enough to find something if I know when it was taken. For me, then, Lightroom adds a few things: a) the ability to weed out the pictures I really like from the pictures I’m ambivalent about b) the ability to find pictures by topic (keyword) and c) the ability toe find pictures by location in the Maps module. Also I should mention that a lot of my process is inspired by Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories system, so if you think something below is total genius it’s probably Stacy’s.

With that said here’s my current workflow:

1- Keep photos from the current month in a folder on my computer (Pictures > yyyy-mm). I keep the folder on my computer during the month so the photos get backed up using Time Machine (just one of many ways I back up my photos.) How the files get on to my computer is a long story that I am still working to improve. Let’s just say the only thing I miss from Aperture is how it worked with Photo Stream on my iPhone.

2- When the month is over, import that folder into Lightroom while moving it to my 1,5 TB external hard drive. My external hard drive is where I store my pictures long term and it gets backed up regularly to a separate external hard drive. I don’t make any changes to the file names, the metadata nor do I apply any developing presets.

3- After import I review the photos quickly and either “flag” the keepers (P) or “reject” duplicates, blurry ones or ones that I know I’ll never use/reference (X). Why don’t I reject the photos I don’t flag? Because I’m sentimental and there are some photos I don’t want to show up in my library but that I can’t bear to delete either. It also helps me to be selective in what I flag because I know something I was ambivalent about will still be there. During this process I also apply a color label to photos that need to be developed. At the end of this I delete all the rejects, because I have enough photos as it is :)

4- Flagged photos are automatically included in smart collections that group photos by quarter. I’ve taken this directl from Stacy Julian’s “Library of Memories” system. Basically the smart collection looks for photos that are flagged and were captured in the specified date range. This is what the organization looks like in Lightroom.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 9.29.10 PM

5- The photos with a color label (red) also go into a smart collection called “Photos to Develop.” I use that folder when I want to fiddle around with my photos more. Let’s just say that I’ve been using the power of Lightroom’s “develop” module much more than I used Aperture. So powerful, so easy and so fun to fiddle with. It makes me want to take pictures with my big camera because it is so fun to develop photos from RAW.

6- My next step is to tag and geocode ONLY the photos that have been flagged as keepers – i.e. those in the quarterly smart collections. Again my tagging structure is based on Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories system: All About Me, People I Love, Places I Go and Things I Do with sub-tags under each. I will go into more detail about my tagging system in another (possibly series) post(s) – it’s too complex to include here – but that’s the general approach.

7- The final step in my process is what I like to call “quality assurance.” This is where it gets fun ;) In quality assurance I use smart collections to look for flagged photos that fall into three things: a) photos without keywords, b) photos without GPS data and c) photos missing both keywords and GPS data.

I am okay if there are photos in the first two categories. For example, I might have a close up picture of my cat that doesn’t have GPS data but where the photo was taken isn’t important to the story. I know that I’ll tag it “Blossom” and find it so I’m okay if that picture is in category b. Landscape photos, on the other hand, I try to make sure all have a geotag at least by city/country. The same goes for keywords: I’m okay if photos don’t have a keyword as long as those are pictures I am most likely to look for by location. I know that I will never get to zero photos in category c, but I do try to minimize them as much as possible.

So why all the double checking? Because my phone automatically includes GPS data so long as it’s connected to wifi or my cellular network. When I’m traveling, though, it may not include because I’ve turned it to flight mode and photos from my big camera also doesn’t include GPS data. So there may be photos that have GPS data but that I would look for by topic and vice versa.

This is admittedly a lot of work up front, but easy to keep up with month to month. What do you do differently in your photo organization?

Watching: Nothing right now, I’ve mostly been listening to music when I’m at home. More on that in another post.

Anticipating: My trip to Copenhagen to see my sister, her husband and my nephew who’s turning 1 during my visit. In fact, I’m writing this while waiting for my flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. In addition to being with family I am looking forward to LONG summer days and warm weather.

Listening/Reading: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Kindle) and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus Christ (audiobook) – both checked out from Salt Lake County Library. I love that service.

Eating: Nothing special. I am traveling for most of July – I will only wake up in my bed in Maseru for 9 mornings – so I have tried to not go grocery shopping. This translates to lots of boiling water or use of the microwave for dinner.

Working On: Understanding how to balance acceptance while not being complacent.

Wanting:  Nothing. I should really change this heading. I want for so little and recognize how lucky that makes me.

Playing: Plague, Inc. on my iPhone and iPad. Holy cow, have you heard of this game? It is straight up my alley as a public health nerd who likes to play casual games. Fun and addictive!

For my second page at Get It Scrapped this month the Creative Team took on the challenge of making a page with 1 photo that is a staged still life – ie of a thing or things that I arranged and photographed for the purpose of making this page.

Mid-Week Sundowners by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Plant Your Story {Journaled} v. 4 by Sara Gleason; This Magic Moment, Day Trippers by One Little Bird; Away We Go Stamps by Katie Pertiet; Worth a Thousand Words by Sahlin Studio.

Mid-Week Sundowners by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Plant Your Story {Journaled} v. 4 by Sara Gleason; This Magic Moment, Day Trippers by One Little Bird; Away We Go Stamps by Katie Pertiet; Worth a Thousand Words by Sahlin Studio.

 
This page uses a photo I took of my gin and tonic documenting the story of mid-week happy hours with my friend Brian before he left Lesotho. I took the photo to share with him as proof that the tradition was continuing on after he left, but then I realized I never took a photo when he was here and decided to use this one to document the story. I like that it’s a “still life” but captures and everyday life story.

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