As I mentioned in June’s monthly review, I have attempted to flush my creative pipes with the purchase of some new toys. Well, the good news is, they’ve arrived. Both of them.
The first I’m using to type this now, a new laptop – a svelte, unbelievably gorgeous 11″ MacBook Air. It’s so light compared to my old MacBook Pro, and runs a lot cooler, so my sperm and any future children will thank me. It’s also, such is progress, almost twice as fast, despite being smaller, lighter and cheaper. It does have less storage, but that’s not really the point; it’s far more comfortable to write with, and unlike my increasingly decrepit Pro doesn’t lock up randomly without reason. I intend to use it as portable storage too; when I head out to Tenerife in a few months it will mean I can shoot away to my heart’s content and edit on the go (I know the iPad can theoretically cover this use, but to be honest it doesn’t store as much as an Air, and the iPad version of iPhoto, although amazing, is nothing compared to Aperture).
The second new toy is a flashgun. I’ve been looking at one for ages – in fact, I mentioned it way back in my 2011 roundup – and decided late last month to finally take the plunge, especially as I continue falling in love with portrait photography. The flashgun I bought is a Canon Speedlite 430EX II, chosen because it also works wirelessly, allowing me to position it anywhere for the side lighting I enjoy in portraits. This will help especially in my capacity as ‘official photographer’ of my niece, as she is often found in my parents-in-laws’ living room which is a dark, dimly lit place at the best of times. As you’d expect it fits on the top of my camera too, with a swivelling head to allow me to diffuse its light by bouncing it off of walls behind me.
I’m also pleased to say that, for now, they seem to be working. Writing on this laptop is such a joy I’m once again looking forward to getting home and writing on it, and the flash has opened up some new photographic possibilities. I’m not sure I can say I’m completely past this creative block yet – the stuff I’m typing still seems lacking in rhythm and flair and I’m still not all that certain of the images I’m taking, but the spark is back, the desire. Maybe I’ll continue to produce crap for the next few months – you’ll be the judge of that – but at least I’m feeling like I want to produce content, which is the first hurdle.