Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MySpace

Well, it's gotten to the point where it's easier to have an account on myspace than not to, if you know what I mean. Lots of new potential models have been sending me links to their myspace page where they keep their snapshots and you have to have an account to view them. So I've created one. I've decided to be a complete friend whore there, so if anybody wants to add me feel free. You may have to hit reload a couple of times to get that link to work - I don't quite seem to have propogated to all of their servers yet.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Update

Kind of a weird week for me - lots of ups and downs. The only relevant story is that I had a model not show up, and I called her to ask what was up (sometimes they're just lost and didn't bring my phone # or whatever) and she said "Didn't you get my text message?"

For the record, models, if you've never exchanged text messages with somebody over the age of 30, assume their phone doesn't get text messages and maybe they like it that way. If they don't reply, assume maybe you should call them. Even sending an email would have been something, although email isn't a great last minute cancellation method because what usually happens is I don't get it because I'm busy setting up the studio... and then I get it once it's all set up and it's kind of pointless then. CALL. Really, just takes a second.

Anyway, as you might have guessed that means no new pictures for at least a little while although I have some GREAT models lined up for the next couple of weeks.

Running update: OK, everybody's favorite part. I actually exceeded my goals just because there was some kind of event at the Marina and I switched routes and it was just easier to round up to two miles. Sometimes going too far isn't a great idea if you're at all concerned about injury but at this stage of building back up there's more leeway. The point is really just to not overdo it to the extent that I don't want to run two days later and I think I'm still a ways from that.

Next week: I want to run 2.5 miles Friday. Monday and Wednesday 2.0 will do it, but if I'm feeling good go for 2.5.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stages of Mourning

What I'm wondering, is when do you get past the stage where you hear Flogging Molly in the background of a TV show and you reach for the phone to call her before remembering she won't be answering? I'm waiting for that "dropping reflexes" stage. Guess my hindbrain still's in denial.

(miss you, hon)

On a lighter note I'm off to the post office to send a picture to a guy who bought one of the first pictures I ever sold. It's always cool when they keep coming back.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

New Model: Aster

Whew! I finally had the time to edit Aster's set. Check it out!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Updates

Well, I'd hoped to have my next set edited but I've been swamped with other stuff. Soon, though!

I have several cool model shoots scheduled or tentatively scheduled over the next month or so - looks like it's going to be more spread out than normal. I hate to get too excited about any one shoot because they do tend to get moved around or cancelled or whatever but it's looking good so far.

The items listed in the two day cheap listing splurge on eBay are ending Tue-Wed next week so there's a lot more items listed than I've had listed in quite some time. Generally people don't spend so much time online in the summer and there's a real seasonality to this stuff. Thankfully it doesn't seem to hit the direct sales as hard as it hits eBay, and the portrait stuff actually seems to be the reverse (more in summer, less in winter) so it kind of works out.

I met my running goals for the week. Next week the goal is to run three times, 1.5 miles each, and to do it over at the marina. The main issue with the location is just that I didn't want to spend more time driving than running this first week where I'm just trying to establish the habit again, but in the long run if I run on the sidewalk there are all kinds of drawbacks including the fact that it's rather hard on my shins. Down at the local marina there are some nice trails along the bay - they're paved but with an unpaved section right next to it. It's tempting to run on the paved area - you go much faster and it's generally easier - but I know from experience the impact is just no fun after a while.

I should also say that once I get up to some reasonable distance I'll fall back to a good rule of thumb which is that a 10% increase per week is about all you want to try for, but until I get to around three miles three times a week I'll be more aggressive. I know from experience how fast I can ramp up to that level safely.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Announcements

I'd turned on anonymous commenting thinking people would sign their names but that way they wouldn't have to have blogger profiles. I got a few of those but the last couple of weeks suddenly I've getting some snarky/sometimes obscene anonymous comments and I just don't have the interest in dealing with them since 90% of the feedback I get is via email, not comments.

Like most people with "lifestyle jobs" my income is a real patchwork - print sales obviously (mostly direct even though I've been fussing about eBay lately) as an example my portrait business does OK, especially the maternity work. I just got a small royalty check just yesterday from Lulu. But yeah, it's a lifestyle job, if I were more concerned about money than time/freedom I'd still be a full time software engineer.

And that brings us to the next announcement, which is I got another book cover! It's a nice windfall - book covers don't make you rich but it covers the mortgage for about six weeks. It's coming out in the fall - I'll put up some links at that time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

eBay Note

Well, I've mentioned the fee increase on stores before. That's the stick. The carrot is that they had a 2 day sale only for listing auctions that started as store items. Of course they're doing it in a sneaky way where you pay them now and they'll refund you the money... in the next fiscal quarter. Good thing I'm not a stockholder or I'd be wondering about that.

Anyway, I went ahead and moved quite a few items over including a number of alternative process prints which I priced to move. Hopefully the auctions won't be so flooded by everybody else doing the same thing that they'll get some attention. They won't show up on the hot ebay items link in the right column, usually so useful, but you can see them here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Freedom of Choice

I had dinner tonight at Stacey's At Waterford (which is in Dublin, CA - there's another in nearby Pleasanton). I eat at both of their locations now and again - usually these days if somebody else is paying, me being a starving artist and all. Both have excellent food and the surroundings are nice enough that you don't feel foolish if you're dressed up, but they won't give you stink eye if you're casual either. I would have gladly hired two of the waitresses tonight as models which is always a nice extra.

Anyway, from their menu: No matter how finicky you are, our servers are trained to resist the urge to slap you senseless. Feel free to ask for changes to your meal. We can add garlic, delete spices, remove meat if you’re a vegetarian -- whatever change you like -- as long as it’s legal. And if no one is watching, we’re flexible on the legal thing too.

I assume they had Scott write that, seems like his style - he's a co-owner or something.

Anyway, I like that. A lot of the fancy places in the city, you ask for some tiny little modification, like "please no sauce" and the waitress will look like a scared little bunny and say she'll ask the chef, maybe he'll be in a good mood today and allow this wild and crazy exception. And then if they'll do it, it's like you're supposed to be grateful.

Why do I bring this up? Not because Scott needs more money, that's for sure. But because sometimes people ask me for something different like they're afraid I'm going to rip their head off, with my artistic temperment and all that. And it's really not the case - I have one regular who frames things such that he'd rather have half inch white borders around a print. Sometimes people will ask for something in black and white that's in color on the website. Sometimes somebody wants some specific non-standard size to go with some other images they already have.

Now, if I think that image won't work that way, I'll tell you why and we can go from there. But given my style most of my work looks just fine in black and white, and most other requests have been perfectly reasonable. Now, it might take a while, and I might charge you extra, but you'll know up front. And as long as you're not crude or obnoxious I won't be offended.

So ask! Who knows, I might say yes!



Monday, August 14, 2006

Running

I've been on this cycle the last few years where I run very regularly during the dry season (June - October) and on and off the rest of the year depending on how wet it is (February is usually dryer than March for some reason). This year between one thing and another (broken ribs, some really strange weather, painting the house) I just never got rolling on it.

The thing is I know from experience that I need some kind of external component - I used to have a designated nagger who I used to email regularly and she was pretty good about nagging me if I didn't mention running for a couple of days. (There was some chocolate oriented bribery involved to give her an incentive.) Unfortunately she's no longer in the picture so I've decided to rely on public humiliation.

So every Friday I'll post a little update saying if I did what I said I'd do the previous Friday, and my goals for the following week. I've found that a week is a good kind of granularity. I'll keep it short and I'll also work in any other kind of small things like shooting updates at the same time to get a little on topic content. Oh, and I'm a distance guy so you'll see me building up miles but I'll pretty much never mention times since I don't even wear a watch while I run. Normally I can get up to around 15 miles a week but unless I keep going through the rainy season this year I don't know that you'll see anything close to that.

This week the goal is just to get the regularity going - I've found it just needs to be habit. So the goal is simply to do something- run one mile three days this week. Doesn't matter where (I might specify later since I often run on hills or rough terrain) or how fast as long as I never slow to a walk. Next week I'll increase that a little or a lot depending on how it went. I have a lot of experience at this point knowing roughly how fast I can ramp back up after a break so with the help of Public Humiliation (tm) it should go OK.

In other news I have one more shoot I'm in the middle of editing and then that should be it for a couple of weeks - I'm scheduling the next batch at around the end of August. eBay sales are picking up (July's always slow so I listed almost nothing) but they have some major fee increases coming shortly and I'm not sure how that's going to impact me yet. I do sell more prints direct at this point but it's still a great source of new customers so it's something I'll have to deal with.

I hope to have some more major news in a couple of days but it's a bit premature now so I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Pictures: Anya in motion

Yes, it's Anya again. If you haven't seen her first set, check it out! (Update: These were eventually combined into one set, so it's the same link for both.

Emergency Preparedness

I've always lived in earthquake country, and as far back as I can remember the recommendation was to have three days of food and water. If I move into a new place, I bolt the bookcases to the walls (I have a couple of thousand books so that's kind of a pain) - don't even think about it really, it's just something one does. I imagine people who grew up with hurricanes or whatever have their own little habits you pick up growing up.

In college I had my first real experience with the fact not everybody had this stuff drilled into them when we had a medium sized quake during class and all the native Californians were under the desks in moments and everybody else was looking around wondering where we all went.

I think after Katrina people are throwing out "a week" instead of "three days" but the point is you should have some extra food and water around. It's not that hard. Go to Costco, buy an extra flat or two of bottled water, a flat of soup, and a flat of chili. Or whatever - something you could eat cold if you had to that keeps. If you're not wealthy enough to just give it to the local food drive when it gets near expiration, do some basic rotation - eat some now and again and when it's half gone buy another flat. Or whatever - just find something that works for you. It's not that hard, it doesn't have to cost anything in the long run if you buy something you'll eat eventually, it's just a little extra money upfront and a little extra storage space.

Probably some emergency lighting would help too, but if you haven't gotten around to that yet don't use it as an excuse for not covering the basics. (that's a cool website, by the way, and they're good folks. Just don't be surprised if some of their stuff seems like overkill - they also cater to LDS (Mormon) folks who are supposed to have a years worth of food on hand. So they have stuff like giant cans of dehydrated margarine powder. Really!)

Yeah, it's not real portable, but chances are you'll be sheltering in place or driving someplace with it in your trunk. Think about how much more pleasant you'll feel looking at your extra flat or two of water and thinking "Hmm, glad I'm not down at the local grocery store with all the other looters."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Model: Anya

I just uploaded some pictures of Anya.

On another matter entirely, I ended up being unimpressed with ArtByUs as a place to sell prints - the traffic numbers were really bad. I moved the platinum toned prints over to eBay - I'm not totally thrilled by them but they DO bring a lot of traffic to the table, especially internationally. I'm sure I'll be revisiting this issue and trying different things periodically. I also used some different techniques to photograph them which worked much better. For an overview of what the different processes I use look like check out the alternative prints section.

I am probably not going to add another process until the fall, but in the meantime I may try to build a UV exposure unit. Right now my options are the sun or a single bulb in a work reflector setup that cost me about $25. For cyanotypes I use the sun because it's faster and I can just eyeball the exposure perfectly. For vandykes I'm less successful eyeballing the exposure and the UV is pretty consistent but very slow - I'm running 18 minute exposure times! If I could get that down to 4-5 minutes that would be a lot more convenient.

Speaking of eBay, I've started listing regular auction items there again now that we're getting out of the summer doldrums, so you might want to keep an eye on that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Model: Thora

I just put up a new set with Thora. Here you can see more experimentation with gels.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Model: Kamela

I just put up a new set with Kamela - she's just adorable.

The blue/red shots aren't toned in Photoshop - they were shot with a colored gel over the light. These were basically test shots for something down the road.

In other news, I have one shoot done and ready to edit, and another scheduled soon!
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