Every year or so, I try to learn a new set of related creative skills that actually really help me be more creative and insightful in my career path. I have spent time learning photography, various international cooking techniques, welding, carpentry, metalworking, sewing, music-making, various DIY and complex electronics kit projects, CoSplay costume making using 3D printing, fabricating, painting and airbrush techniques and more! Here are a few of my more recent projects. You can see my photography portfolio on a separate page here.
In 2020 I am working on a series of Day of the Dead themed still life photographs, partly to connect with extended family heritage and also to do something unique that I know only a little about. I am more into water and sunsets, so this is all out of my comfort zone. I have been researching the origins, and areas of the world were this occurs to understand it better.
This creative exercise involves 3d printing skulls, aging and decorating them, making background images and then putting it all together. It also involves some digital artwork involving Adobe Illustrator and my drawing Pen display.
Last year saw me making a Star Wars Helmet from the Clone Wars with my 7-year-old son. My son loved seeing the project unfold and helped with sanding, painting and battle damage. We both kept careful watch over the 3d printer as it printed for many hours. This project involved 3d Printing, Assembly, Paint Preparation, Airbrushing, Weathering, Battle Damage, and internal padding and fittings to make it comfortable to wear.
DSLR Camera Controller using Nintendo DS and Open Source firmware for Canon/Nikon:
About 8 years ago, I wanted an inexpensive Camera controller for time-lapse and long exposures. Most remotes cost $500-$800 and didn’t do much for the price. So, I found an open-source kit, and using a cheap Nintendo DS I modified a cartridge with a custom circuit board and cable to be able to control a Canon 5D Mark ii DSLR camera. I also had to use an open-source firmware toolkit and create a menu based system that ran both time-lapse and long exposure calculation/trigger apps. These were sideloaded to run in the Nintendo DS. It worked great, eventually, the market caught up with a variety of remotes, phone-based apps and I was actually able to do these things in camera on my Sony a6500 camera. I learned how to create a consumer-ready package that was stable, easy to use and would work reliably out in the field.
3D Printed Portable Monitor (9.7″)
About 5 years ago, I was traveling a lot and needed a small, compact portable 2nd monitor for work and editing photos/videos. I found a kit from Adafruit that uses a new 9.7″ diagonal TFT display module (the same one used in the iPad 3 & 4), with a 2048×1536 ultra-high pixel density, with circuitry to provide an IPS display to any computer with a Thunderbolt/DisplayPort port. It involved a lot of careful work but I still use it to this day! It has worked well with my MacBook Pro and 4K Lenovo P52 laptops.