Monthly Archives: May 2019

Bored and Brilliant challenge 6: Observe something else

Previous posts on the challenge:

Bored and Brilliant challenge 6 is to go somewhere public and stay for a while: a park, a mall, a gas station, a cafe, the hallway at work.

Once you get there, hang out. Watch people, or anything that strikes you. No need to sit on a park bench for an hour. It can be as short as you like. If you really feel uncomfortable lingering in a spot to observe, you can do this exercise while walking. But it should have a different quality than challenge two (to keep your device out of sight while in motion). Here I’m asking you to pause and imagine what a single person is thinking, or zoom in on an un-inventable detail. Just make one small observation you might have missed if your nose were glued to a screen. I’m asking you to notice—because noticing is the first step in creating.

I’ve done this a couple of times. Just sat somewhere for no particular reason, but I always forgot what I was supposed to be doing there for the challenge.

Yesterday I tried it again, and again forgot the bit about imagining what a person was thinking, but I did try and look for things I might otherwise have missed.

For reasons unnecessary to explain, I found myself in New Town for an hour last night. It was dark, it was cold and I am trying to get over a cold. Not an ideal time to wander around so I decided to do this challenge once and for all. I mean, it’s been a month since I did the last one. I need to get this finished!

I went to the local shopping centre (mall—check) and sat outside Kmart for half an hour (stay somewhere public for a while—check). I’d like to tell you I didn’t look at my phone the whole time but that would be slightly untrue. But I didn’t sit there and scroll instagram or facebook at all. I mostly didn’t look at my phone. Apart from a couple of messages I just sat and looked around.

It actually felt less weird than I thought it would have. Random person rugged up in arctic wear (did I mention it was cold?) sitting on a bench outside Kmart not looking at their phone. What are they doing then? I think I was pretty much invisible. Good.

It was also less boring than I thought it would be. When I found out I’d need to do this, I couldn’t imagine anything I would less rather be doing on a freezing Tuesday night than hanging around in New Town for an hour. But the time went surprisingly quickly and I found I rather enjoyed just sitting in a fairly quiet space that was warm and had just enough going on to maintain my interest. Put it this way, it was more enjoyable than waiting at the bus stop for 10 minutes afterwards.

The shopping centre at 6.30 is fairly quiet, compared to in the daytime, with a slow but steady stream of people making their way into and out of Kmart. I’m not sure I would have liked it quite as much if I’d been sitting there in the middle of the day with all the noise and the much greater numbers of people. I think that would have overstimulated me and I would have felt very uncomfortable.

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to notice.

What sort of people go to Kmart at 6.30? All sorts really. Parents with young kids, couples, singles, older people, teens with a parent, schoolgirls, people who had just finished work . . . And what do they buy? Clothes, kitchen appliances, blankets, cushions, mirrors, coat stands, lollies . . .

What did I notice?

Well, there were fewer people in ugg boots than I had expected to see. I had been wearing ugg boots all day until I went out and I imagined I’d see a lot of them at Kmart. Wrong. I saw two people in ugg boots. There were more people in thongs than there were in ugg boots. (Take note, aspiring film makers, if you ever want to shoot a scene in Kmart. People wear thongs not ugg boots. And flats, and runners (lots of Nikes and lots of non-Nikes) and workboots and walking shoes. Not ugg boots.)

I had no idea that DVD rental vending machines were even a thing. (I clearly don’t visit shopping centres very often.) Today was $2 Tuesday (or in old school language, Tightarse Tuesday) at the vending machine and I saw two people get DVDs from the machine. I also saw one person play the prize grab teddy machine (and fail).

I looked at the floor tiles and realised if I did weird things with my eyes I could make the floor move and wondered if I could make myself go into a trance if I blinked my eyes fast enough for long enough by looking at it. (I couldn’t, but it was fun trying.)

And there was a section of floor where the tile pattern was broken and I couldn’t stop looking at it because it was WRONG!

20190514 Floor at New Town Plaza 3 edit


I am not sure if I was supposed to have come away with anything profound from this exercise. I didn’t, other than a nagging feeling I had missed something from a statement on my website and that I wanted to change the font. Hardly profound. But I liked the experience. I didn’t get bored and I didn’t feel the need to scroll through social media because there was nothing else to do. It was nice to be able to sit, watch what was going on around me without judgement* and just let my mind take in whatever it wanted to.

I’d like to do this challenge more often.

*Okay I made one judgment. This girl in her 20s with a granny trolley and these massive headphones that she stopped outside to set up. She looked very cool and very happy.

19 for 2019: week 19 update

Week of 4 May

I don’t have a lot to update this week. I went to work, had a training course and went to a wedding (yay!).

I had a nice day walking around Launceston on Friday (more than 33,000 steps for the record) before I was struck down with a cold that has put me out of action since then (not yay!).

I took some nice photos though. 20190510 Launceston 00620190510 Launceston 013You can find more of the photos on my photoblog.

I watched the first half of the next assignment for the photo course (thing 1) and did a bit of work on one of the assignments in Lightroom (thing 19) but I haven’t finished it.

That’s about it!

Status for week 19

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (1, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  5: (2, 6, 11, 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

19 for 2019: week 18 update

Week of 29 April

I went back to work this week. That always seems to take up an awful lot of my time for some reason!

I made some progress with 19 for 2019. I did some work on the photo course (thing 1); I watched two videos and completed one assignment. I have 12 assignments to complete. I’m waiting for something to arrive in the mail that will, I’m hoping, make at least one of those easier to photograph.

As the assignment I completed was a Lightroom assignment, I learned a couple of new things and had a few things explained that I was already doing but didn’t know why (thing 19).

I did a lot of reading for my wellbeing work (thing 6), which is probably not moving me a huge way forward but is still progress. I need to remind myself though that I need to actually take action on what I’m learning, not just collect underpants. (If you’re wondering what I’m going on about here, it’s a reference from the TV show South Park, which I wrote about in 2016.)

I stuck one collage into my 2018 photojournal and trimmed 11 more ready to stick in (thing 11). Small progress, but progress nonetheless.

And an update on thing 5, my reading challenge, which I’ve already finished. I finished another book this week and have now read 17 books this year, which is more than I read in the whole of 2018. This is almost entirely due to my habit of reading 20 (or so) pages every morning after my morning walk.

20190502 Time Travelling with a hamster edit

One of the best things about having a 12-year-old is they get cool books and let you read them

Status for week 18

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (1, 6, 11, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (2, 16,18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

19 for 2019: week 17 update

Week of 22 April

One of the things that’s on my 19 for 2019 list is to finish a photo project I’d been working on for a while (thing 16). It’s going to be fun, but it’s also intimidating, and I’ve been avoiding it.

I had a much easier photo project I wanted to do that I didn’t put on the list, which was to make a book of my 2018 black & white project.

This seemed too easy to put on the list because all it involved doing was uploading 365 photos into a template and then printing it. Easy, right?

Not so, my friends. I decided to use a format that had a cover page for each month with one photo and then a 3×3 grid layout for the rest of the month’s photos.

I’m sure you can see the problem. 3×3 equals nine photos per page, so three pages equals 27 photos. But there are 30 or 31 days in each month. February, it turns out, is the perfect month for this type of layout because there are 27 photos plus the cover photo (total photos: 28 days—thank goodness 2018 wasn’t a leap year) but for all the other months I needed four pages, which (4×9) equals 36 slots, for 29 or 30 photos.

So what I had to do was combine a couple of squares on each page to make some photos wider and some photos longer so that each month would fit neatly over four pages. I also wanted them to be in order because I’m picky like that, so it was a lot of work to figure out which ones to stretch (this didn’t work for a lot of the photos as they were square already and not suitable for cropping) and to keep the photos in the right date order.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 6.55.02 pm edit

The joys of making a photobook

Yeah, let’s keep it real simple.

I started this project months ago and imagined I would come back at times when I had a few minutes with nothing to do and upload a month at a time and get it done over a few weeks. But, as with the photojournal (thing 11), it didn’t happen like that and the half-finished book sat there, threatening to be one of those dreaded projects I start but never complete.

I knew it was never going to get done like this and it was going to hover in my mind as something I had to finish, so I sat down for an afternoon and uploaded and sorted six months worth of photos and finished the damn book. Then (after a comprehensive review of whether the photos were lined up on every page, which may or may not have involved a ruler), I sent it to the company for printing on Monday.

Having never made a photobook before, I have no idea how this will turn out but whatever, I can tick another thing off my bonus list!

Completely irrelevant to 19 for 2019, and now I wish I’d put it on the list instead of the other photo project that I still haven’t made any more progress on. Maybe if I stopped writing about it and went and did it I might get something done.


I did a lot of work on the photography course (thing 1). I edited and uploaded some photos I’d taken previously for Assignments 14 and 17.

20190418 Aurora Australis 12 edit

Aurora Australis | 18 April 2019 | 5.21 pm

20190416 Twilight waterfront from Hunter St 08 edit

Hobart Waterfront Twilight | 16 April 2019 | 5.57 pm

20190416 Twilight waterfront from Franklin Wharf 03 edit

Hobart Waterfront Twilight | 16 April 2019 | 6.05 pm

20190317 Supreme Court 3 edit edit

Supreme Court of Tasmania

I practised with my new flash for Assignment 12 but wasn’t happy with any of the photos and my subject was very reluctant to cooperate any further. This one will have to wait.

I also spent a day at Mt Field National Park and have a lot of photos to sort through!

20190422-070 Lake Seal from the Tarn Shelf edit edit edit

Lake Seal | Mount Field National Park | 22 April 2019

I also started to re-examine my folio (thing 2) and, according to RescueTime, I spent 11 hours and 21 minutes in Lightroom over the week, so I must have learned something (thing 19). (I learned how to adjust the time on my photos, which is handy when you forget to change your camera time after daylight saving.) I spent a lot of Tuesday sorting out the catalogue again. I’m almost happy with it now. I attempted to merge some bracketed exposures but that really did not work out well.

I now have 50 things on my draft list for the Bucket List book (thing 18) and actually made a start on one of the projects I’m going to put in the book. Does that count as progress? I think it does.

Status for week 17

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 2, 6, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2 (11, 16)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)