Right now I’m snow-bound and having visions of the Donner Party. Okay, so it’s not that bad, more a case of cabin fever setting in as I reach the 36 continuous hours in my apartment. But still, the farthest I’ve managed to go in that time is the street, to dig out my car. It’s dug out now, but I don’t dare try to actually drive anywhere, since the roads are “plowed” only in the sense that the top 14″ of snow have been removed, leaving just the messy bottom 4″. In fact the only way to get around the city seems to be by joining the roving bands of ATVs and snowmobiles that are roaming the streets.
So in an attempt to keep myself from climbing the walls, here are 10 ideas for photo-related things to do on a slow/snow day:
1. Keyword and backup your files. Yes, it’s enough to make you want to shovel the walk again instead, but it has to get done. Better to do it on a snow day than waiting until a sunny weekend when you could be out actually making photos.
2. Submit to photo stock sites. Whatever your feelings on micro vs. macro stock, the fact is that most of us have a lot of good photos sitting around on hard drives that could be earning us money, even if it is just a quarter per download. Hey, if it’s just sitting there anyway, you might as well be making something off it – think of it like interest on a bank account; it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.
3. Join Model Mayhem. Alright, so perhaps you don’t actually have any photos to load to a stock site. Model Mayhem is a good place to start, where you can connect with models and other photographers. Unlike your roommate, who hides when you pull out your camera, folks on Model Mayhem actually want to have their picture taken. Gaining some solid contacts there will make it much easier to go out and shoot a photo like this:
4. Harass your roommate. On the off-chance that your roommate isn’t sick of you using them as a model, you can always try to recruit them into working with you. I’ve got that great idea that waiting until after sunset and heading out into the snow could look really cool; use a single off-camera Speedlite to light the subject and drag the shutter to let the background fill in. Of course, it will be much gentler on everybody if the snow has stopped falling for this.
5. Setup Google Reader. If you haven’t played with Google Reader, then you’re missing out. I only got mine setup a couple of weeks ago – I say “setup” like it’s hard or something, but it isn’t – and I already love it. You just plug in the feed links to your favorite blogs and Reader keeps an eye on them, collecting new posts and displaying them all in one place. It makes it easier to keep track of the dozen or so sites that I watch, and instead of surfing all over the net I can read it all on one page.
6. Clean your gear. This is another of those all-too-often neglected tasks, but face it, your gear gets dirty. Body oils all over the camera, smudges and water drops on the lens elements, that filter that you dropped in the mud last month and have ignored since… Get out the lens paper & cleaning fluid and give the glass a once over. Check all the lens and body contacts. And use a damp, clean T-shirt to rub down the camera body and clear off any grime.
7. Record the snowstorm. This may seem like a Captain Obvious idea, but it’s surprising the number of people who will go out to dig out their cars, end up commenting on how lovely the world really is with all that snow blanketed across it, but never actually shoot a photo. Why? Get your snow gear back on, take the kids and the dog, and go back outside and play! Take pictures of the playing! It’s okay if some of them are snapshots – the point is to preserve the memory, and not every album photo has to be a perfectly-crafted work of art. It’s okay to just have fun!
8. Give your palm tree a bath. Okay, so this isn’t strictly a photo-oriented idea, but nobody likes a dirty palm tree. And it kind of gets the whole tropical island theme going. After it’s clean you can get out a few limes, crack the Cruzan, and put on your Buffett albums. If you can’t actually be in the Caribbean, you can at least party like you are!