Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Internet Likes My Grandpa

While at my mom's birthday party, I nabbed my brother's fancy expensive DSLR camera and started taking some photos with it. One of these photos was a low-angle shot of my Grandpa sitting outside listening to that day's Brewers game against the Diamondbacks. I thought it turned out pretty good, and I did some post-processing to give the photo a bit of extra life. Check out the result:
Grandpa listening to a Brewers baseball game.
Click to enlarge.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with it. It's rich in color and texture - particularly thanks to the juxtaposition of the faded fence and colorful old license plates in the background against the lush green plants in the foreground and hints of blue in the table and chairs - and my Grandpa's expression and posture really sells what's happening in the photo; you can tell something really interesting (or is it disappointing?) is going on with the baseball game just by looking at him. Without audio, you can see the baseball game in your mind.

I thought, "Looks neat. I'll post it to Reddit and see what they think."

I never could have imagined the reaction I would get.

I posted the photo on a the r/itookapicture community of photographers who share and discuss their creations in the medium with the title "I took a picture of my Grandpa listening to a baseball game" along with this description:

My Grandpa has survived war, cancer, and multiple heart attacks. He's been constantly in and out of the hospital for three years now for various issues and can no longer consume food orally, instead feeding his stomach directly through a tube.
Born in 1932 and the oldest of his living family, nothing can keep this man down.

 The response was positive and overwhelming. I'll share just a few of my favorites here:

My Grandfather was also born in 1932. He was through a hell of a lot as well, much like your Grandfather.
This brought tears to my eyes because during the baseball season you could always find him sitting outside listening to the game on the radio. I'd sit there with him and have a beer, often the only sounds being made was the announcer. Some of the best moments of my life - in their utter simplicity.
Lost him 3 years ago and miss him every damn day - he was my best friend and mentor. Cherish this time, friend. Thank you for sharing.
-  bHarv44
I really enjoy this photo. His raised eyebrow is such a treat.
- blahman135
He looks like the white version of Hector Salamanca [?]
- motown_philly
When we were at baseball games or watching football or whatever, my grandpa would say "wake up out there" 10 to 12 times throughout the course, whenever he thought our guys were fucking up, then go back to his box scores. OP, your grandpa looks like he's about to say the same exact thing.
- BlackMetalBanjo
I love this so much. And I really like the radio being in focus, because the radio is the whole focus of the moment!
- Flinkle
Your grandpa is my spirit animal.
- crypticthree

The photo was so popular that it quickly shot up to the #1 spot of the day, #1 of the week, #4 of the past month, and #21 of the year (currently it sits at just over 3,000 upvotes). In fact, it was so popular that it was chosen as a featured photo on the community's official Instagram page:
Click to enlarge.
Wow, what an honor for my humble photo to be getting such exposure! Photos on my own Instagram page typically get between 10-30 likes (my current highest peaked at 64 - and none else have touched it), but as you can see by the above screenshot, being posted on the reddit_itap account has gotten 94 likes and counting!

I felt a wave of pride and accomplishment in knowing that the photo had not only been seen by so many people, but that it had connected with so many! Of course, I assumed that was the end of it, except one user suggested I take the photo over to another community, r/redditgetsdrawn, where users can post photos and others can opt to draw them. There, one very talented user with the name thefutureeye did an amazing job on this:
Click to enlarge.
So yeah, that's definitely getting printed and framed. It just goes to show that you never know what kind of awesome stuff can happen to you in this crazy world.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Writing Prompts

I'm thinking about writing some flash fiction based on writing prompts. I figure it could be a good opportunity to flex my creative muscles and hone my writing skill in areas that I cannot in writing my novel.

I've already found a community with a plethora of creative prompts, gave one a shot, and got some nice reactions to it. If I keep this up and enjoy it enough I'll probably start sharing the stories on here or something.