Friday, March 31, 2006

New Pictures: Venus

I just put up the set with Venus. Those of you who like really curvy models are going to be super happy with this one!

Book notes - mine and others

Mine: I have copies on order for me to sell, and it's in the queue waiting to show up on Amazon (it will be a "marketplace item" so no free shipping) - once that happens I have to upload cover art, I'll talk about that more then. So it's back to waiting... this whole process is very much hurry up and wait.

John Scalzi: I enjoyed Old Man's War very much. It's kind of old-school science fiction in a lot of ways, which is nice, but he's got some modern twists on things. Anyway, I liked it so much that when I got a copy of his newer book The Ghost Brigades (same universe, some overlap in characters, don't have to have read the first one) I started reading it right away. And I actually read it in one sitting. It's that good. And I really don't have time for that sort of thing these days. And then I pretty much immediately turned around and read an earlier book of his, different universe, written basically for fun and it shows but it's a great read - Agent to the Stars. Anyway, click the links, read the reviews, get a decision but I can recommend them without reservations.

Glenn Reynolds: I finally got my copy of An Army of Davids. I've read so many reviews of this I feel like I've read it already but my copy got delayed somehow so it finally just arrived. It's about how technology is empowering masses of "the little people" to beat corporations, govenments, etc. It's been seven years since Brin's The Transparent Society came out and Lord knows that one seems to be coming true so it will be interesting to see Glenn's take on some of the same issues. But I promise not to start it until I've finished editing this last set!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Showboat

I just saw a wonderful Lamplighters production of Showboat. We had some idiots in the row behind us yapping for quite a bit of the play, and when they got to the point in the play where there are some hicks that show up at the play-within-a-play, and to show that they're completely uncultured what do they have them do? They talk during the performance. And I wanted to turn around and scream "Don't you get it? That's you!"

Ironically they spent the intermission bragging to each other about all the other performances they'd seen and making historical notes about the instrumentation of the orchestra. Fine, but you never learned to be a good audience menber.

PS Kelsey MacIlvaine is just about as beautiful as they come.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Book News

Well, I received the first copy of the new book, "Simplicity", from the fine folks at Lulu and it looks great! I'm actually astounded - I was sure I'd have to get rid of a few images because their printing process wouldn't do them justice but they all look very nice indeed.

Next steps...
  1. Get an ISBN (I can do this through Lulu)
  2. Make and upload a preview .pdf
  3. I'll probably also make a little picture set on the website with some large fraction of the pictures. Just from email I've exchanged with people they seem more comfortable buying the book the more they know what's in it.
  4. I should consider revising the preview for the earlier book and adding a set for it as well - I never really put a lot of thought or effort into promoting it... just got distracted basically...

Very exciting!

Update: ISBN 978-1-4116-8743-1 although it won't show up in Books in Print for a couple of weeks.
Update: You can see the preview pdf here. I've also added the cover and a link to a page that shows previews of some of the images here. Those are already much better than what I had for the first book, but I'll probably fiddle with them some before the book arrives. Still, you get the idea.

I'll start taking pre-orders when I think I'm around a week from having the first batch of copies in-hand. But since I didn't have to do a second round of proofing I think that will be mid-April!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Pictures: Faydle

I just put up a new set with Faydle, who was another model just passing through.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cutting remark

So I shaved with a straight razor today for the first time and I asked my wife how good she thought the shave was. Her reply? "Very smooth other than the scabs."

Yeah, there's a learning curve.

UPDATE: After day 2... "I think the kitty won". I think I need to heal up a bit before trying again.

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Pictures: Jeanne

An all black and white set with Jeanne - now I only have two sets to edit before I'm caught up!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

New Pictures: Megan

Megan is a southern California girl, just passing through.

Update: I put a big 16x20 print of my favorite shot from the Megan shoot up on eBay - there's a limited market for prints that big (which is a shame because they're so cool) and they rarely go at auction for what they're worth. But it's a form of advertising and just plain fun and I do like to list a 16x20 for auction occasionally. Check it out, maybe you'll get a deal!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Two shoot day

Because of some scheduling issues I ended up scheduling two shoots today. One shorter one in the morning and one normal length one in the afternoon. So exhausting!

And neither of them wore green today for St. Patrick's. Very sad.

This means I have four shoots in my editing pile. Unless I've forgotten something I don't have any other shoots scheduled so I'll go into more of an editing phase and catching up on other aspects of my life - but hopefully there will be new material every couple of days for a bit.

If you haven't seen them already - the latest shoots up are with Eris and another with both Fierce and Eris.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Book Update

There's a few steps in this process that just plain take a while. Mostly they involve the actual process of getting a copy printed and mailed out to you. And with a book of pictures frankly the print technology seems to work better with some images than others. So what I did last time that worked pretty well was to make a draft copy and then revise based on that (adding in new pictures to replace some that didn't work). Thankfully the second generation was fine and I went with that.

This time I did a minor variation was basically to come up with a list of images I liked (roughly two per shoot since the last book was done - 62 images) and assemble the book together (which is mostly a question of dragging the art in order from a folder into a wordprocessing document). I submitted cover art and changed text in the document (using the old one as a template) like the copyright year and title and dedication. I added a little bio at the end since there was some grumbling that there isn't one in the first book.

Then there's kind of a tedious process of uploading everything, getting a .pdf back, checking it, approving it, etc but it's no big deal. But the big point is that started the clock going on getting the thing printed and mailed out to me via last class mail (it will be a couple of weeks).

Once it arrives I'll mark it up with any images I don't like how they came out, delete those, rejuggle as necessary. I'll probably add to the bio (I can get started on that now). Then I do this whole process again with the hope that will be a final OK copy.

At that point I'll go through this process that will give me an ISBN (so it will be in Books In Print and you can buy it via Amazon) and once Amazon picks it up there's some kind of process to submit cover art that I'm a bit vague on.

I'll then order a few copies with the ISBN barcode on the back to sign and list on eBay and sell through the website. Whew!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Couple of plugs

Today was blood donation day and I thought I might as well mention here a nice way to do it. If you're like me you gave in college, and maybe once or twice at an employer, but basically while you would do it if it was easy you wouldn't go out of your way. Well, thanks to the Internet it's really easy. The Red Cross does it at a regional level so it may not be identical everywhere but in Northern California it's http://www.beadonor.com/ - other regions have very similar websites though, just enter your zip code at the Red Cross site and they'll get you to the right place.

Anyway, all you do is log in and it shows everybody nearby who has a public donation drive. Find someplace convenient and pleasant like, say, the local woman's college, click on a time, and you're set. They'll email you to remind you and everything.

The other plug is for Pelican flashlights. Pelican is known for their cases - if you fly with photo gear or need to store a gun or some electronics you probably know Pelican cases. Well, they make flashlights now. They're super high quality and not nearly as expensive as their competition who tends to price/market their stuff as "tactical" lights which means twice the price tag. The ones I like run on these smallish 3V lithium cells and have an LED bulb - they're super bright, run for an absurdly long time, and the bulbs are super tough. The Pelican M1 runs on a single one of these batteries and it's just incredible - the sort of thing you can stick in your pocket but light up a huge area. If you Google things like "Pelican M1" or "Pelican M3" you'll find people who sell them - they tend to be places like cop supply stores (which are kind of fun to check out anyway). I see Action Lights carries them and so does Cop Quest who are both reputable (I have no connection with any of those companies other than as a customer).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New Pictures: Fierce and Eris

As predicted, I got rained out today, but that means I got ahead on editing. So I just put up a set with Eris and another with both Fierce and Eris.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Shooting Update

I had a wonderful shoot the other day with Fierce and Eris, a friend of hers. It was a really fun shoot - Fierce set up the whole thing so I wasn't sure what to expect but Eris was just great. Whew!

I'm not totally certain how I'm going to split up the shots since I shot for a while with just Eris first - so it will most likely be a "just Eris" set and a "Fierce and Eris" set.

I also did a shoot with Megan who was in town a couple of days from LA. She's very cool (actually most of my models have been) and from what I've seen so far the shots look great.

In the upcoming week I have a series of shoots scheduled but some of them are outdoors and frankly with the weather we've been having (hail!) it's not looking good. Still, I should have a lot of editing to do even with what I've already done!

Titles

Another FAQ item - people sometimes ask what a title of a photo is, or why I apparently don't title my work. I very rarely title my work. There's two reasons - one practical and one philosophical.

The practical reason is that since I share a relatively large number of pictures from each shoot it would get overwhelming very quickly. But still, I could do something like title every image in a book.

Which brings us to the real reason - the philosophical one. One thing I enjoy about sharing my art with the world is that I find it very interesting what people get out of it. People project all kinds of meaning into the shots that comes out of their unique worldview and experiences. And I feel like if I title a work that I'm polluting that process. I'm injecting an external piece of information that artificially influences the viewer as to the meaning of the work. And I enjoy the process of getting reactions from viewers too much to give that up.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Book Musings

It's probably about the time to think about another book.

The first book was basically an experiment - it's a slim volume (66 pages) but big enough that the images are roughly 8x10 which is a nice size. It's self published and I sell them off of eBay and direct. I never really promoted it but there's a steady trickle of sales. It's the kind of thing where it's not a big moneymaker but people seem to like it. I was thinking about what I would need to do to promote it more heavily and after some thought I realized I've done enough shoots since then that while I don't quite have enough material for a similar book I will shortly and that probably makes more sense.

I do think keeping it relatively slim makes the most sense. Looking at my own collection of art books I know while the big brick books seem like a great deal I never actually look at them. And I think it's important to keep the costs reasonable. So it will be roughly the same length.

So then the next steps are everything from collecting up enough images to doing some more shoots to fill out the corners to figuring out who to dedicate it to. I should probably give in and put in an artists bio of some kind (and put something simlar on the website). Oh, and I'll need a title!

Don't expect to see anything soon - I'm thinking a mid-May release would work out nicely - but I thought people might find this process interesting. Self publishing a book really isn't hard at all - there's a lot of little decisions, and of course you need some content (oh, that!) but perhaps this will encourage other people to give it a shot.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good News Bad News

The bad news is... I had somebody cancel for a portrait shoot. This is incredibly disruptive so I'm finally giving in and requiring a deposit like everybody else does.

The good news is... eBay admitted they made a mistake when they killed one of my auctions. A full week after writing them, admittedly, but they did get it right eventually. Good thing I used the special "Powerseller" support or it might have been two weeks. It's good to get these things cleared up because if you get enough strikes they have a variety of penalties including suspending your account. This actually happened to me last year which is how I know! It was only for a couple of days until they realized they made a mistake but in the meantime they sent letters to everybody bidding on my auctions saying I was kicked off eBay. Some of them never did return as customers. Thanks, eBay!

More good news... every time eBay does this I get motivated to make it easier to buy off the website. The suspension lead to the shopping cart system, as an example. The free shipping promotion was because of my annoyance over this latest.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Free Shipping Extended

See the prints page for more details, but I've decided to extend the free shipping promotion to the 10th.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

General Update

First off, the free shipping promotion (see the last entry) just has a couple more days so you may want to take advantage of that while you can.

Other than that... I had an unfortunate road incident resulting in various damage. Cracked ribs type stuff. So I'm taking it really easy this week. Some of this is going to take a while to be 100% but I think I'll be past the worst of it by then.

Past that, over the next couple of weeks I have three model shoots and one portrait shoot scheduled but as anybody who follows this knows there's often some last minute tweaks so I'm going to keep the details under wraps for the moment.

One little mini-feature - I've added a little entry over on the side for what I'm reading. It's actually kind of hard to find a good position to read in without pain for any length of time so I've been checking out podcasts and other things. So it might sit on the same book for a little while but I will keep it updated.
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