Friday, September 29, 2006

Just checking in

Just a few itty bitty updates. I'm still alive, first off. Just having to take a break from SFN stuff for a couple of weeks for personal reasons.

I have three potentially great shoots lined up for mid October - they should all be a lot of fun.

Thanks to the folks who have put in orders despite the warnings that I won't get to them until October 10th. It's kind of an interesting mix - some regular prints, there's been a run on metallic prints for no obvious reason, and a cyanotype. Which brings up an interesting note which is that cyanotypes have outsold vandyke prints 2:1. This is not the conventional wisdom. Most people think that, say, a landscape in cyanotype is pretty weird but it seems to work well with the figure stuff. That's great for me since I absolutely love the process.

My next goal with the alternative process stuff is to get the vandyke exposure time for platinum toned prints nailed and make a half dozen or so prints. It's a relatively expensive process so I'll probably never make a huge number of those but they work really well for certain kinds of shots. To my mind once nice thing as a photographer is to have as many ways of making prints as possible so I can match up individual shots with the process that will show them off to best effect.

I haven't run worth squat - the week I really get back into my normal life again I'll probably fall back to a nine mile week, ten at most if I'm feeling great on Friday.

I think that about covers it. I probably won't update again until around October 9th or 10th.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Chora Nova

This is only of interest to people in the San Francisco Bay Area, sorry about that.

There's a new choir - Chora Nova - just starting up. They're 30 or so voices, most or all are people who sung with the Baroque Choral Guild at one point when that was a going concern. I know a bunch of the singers and I haven't heard them all together at once (they're that new) but they should be quite good. Their first concert is some assorted Michael Haydn in Berkeley in collaboration with The Haydn Singers.

Yes, I did donate the fire shot on their website. (Update: And then later undonated it, and can no longer recommend the choir.)

Update 2: I've had a number of people who have had problems dealing with the group and while I sympathize there's really nothing I can do about it at this point.

Friday, September 15, 2006


So at some point I started cooking and asked mom for all the secret family recipes. Of course with a primary interest in a particular cookie recipe and her excellent fudge.

Cookies: Go buy Quaker Oats. Look on the bottom of the lid. Use butter instead of margarine. (which actually I think it calls for now).

Fudge: Go buy Kraft Marshamallow Creme. Follow the recipe.


The fudge is always a big hit, incidentally, the real trick is if you don't get it hot enough it will be grainy. A candy thermometer helps. Also let it cool as slowly as possible - don't stick it in the fridge. It's best if made the day before.

Friday, it's Friday, yay for Friday

Running: Ran 10 miles this week, as planned. Next week I'm going to try to do the same but I'm not sure how realistic that is given my shedule. We shall see.

eBay: I've put the store on vacation mode which just means you can still buy stuff but there's warnings that it won't be taken care of right away. Actually if you pay by PayPal for the next few days I'll probably be able to handle it right away, but I don't want to deal with checks, bank runs, going to the PO box, etc. Likewise if you put in a direct order it's conceivable I'll be able to get things to the lab and turn it around but really I wouldn't count on it. (The difference is if it's in the eBay store I have it on hand, but if you just buy some random stuff usually I need to get it made up at the lab.) I'll start listing again in early October, including pictures from four sets that are here on the website but I never listed on eBay.

That's really about it. I won't have a whole lot to say over the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll post a recipe or something just for fun but I'm not really sure how much time I'm going to have to be online at all.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How do you package your prints?

I've had potential customers ask this and I've had other photographers who want to sell prints ask this. Sometimes fun to guess which they are.

8x10s go in a plastic bag surrounded by two pre-cut piece of 8.5x11 corrugated cardboard, which all gets put into a flat rate envelope. I buy the cardboard 100-200 at a time and the bags 1,000 at a time from Uline. I used to use just one piece of cardboard domestically and I don't think the damage rate is different but the customers seem to like the look of two better - more reassuring.

11x14s including alternative process prints go into a plastic bag, and that gets sandwiched between two thin pieces of cardboard. Then that goes into a box. It's the larger size of the priority mail boxes (there are two almost identical sizes in a "pizza box" format, there are also some "shoebox" boxes and other options that don't work).

16x20s get rolled up with a thin piece of foam that sticks out a couple of inches on either side past the print. That gets put into a tube. I've had bad luck with the free priority mail tubes so I buy document tubes from Uline. They're a couple of bucks each even in bulk but it's worth it.

FAQ Index

I write the occasional post answering a frequently asked question, and they've kind of gotten scattered so I thought I'd make a little index to them, and then I can link to this post from elsewhere.

How do you find your models?
What's your gear like?
Why don't you title your work?

What's the deal with using a straight razor?
What's a cluster of pictures?
Do you have a MySpace account?
How do you package your prints?
How do I take underwater pictures?
How do I take pictures of fireworks?

New Model: Melody

I just put up the set with Melody.

This will be the last set for quite some time. I was hoping to do another shoot today, but she never reconfirmed - no idea what's up with that. Thankfully these days I always reconfirm a shoot a couple of days before the shoot instead of setting up the studio and hoping she'll show up.

Also see below for delays in getting prints made - I had a nice little rush of business the last couple of days, thanks, but basically from this point forward if you make an order I'll get it out as soon as I can but there's a really good chance you won't get it until early-mid October.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hiatus Dates

OK, I have dates.

All print orders placed after 5:00pm PST Thursday September 14th until October 9th are subject to a delay. You can still place orders but they will not be processed until October 9th.

(Most domestic orders arrive about a week after they're placed, including my lab's turnaround time, inspecting and signing the prints, and delivery to you).

New Pictures: Hourglass

And here's the rest of the Hourglass shoot!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

New Pictures: Hourglass

The actual art shoot's making progress but won't be done for a while. However, I did split out a little section with some just for fun dressup pictures. This is what happens after a shoot when you're both feeling a bit silly and have a few minutes to spare. I just set up some simple lighting and told her to go for it and this was the result.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Quote of the week: "You can't love someone into mental health" - Russell Friedman, author of this book. Haven't read the book but I thought that was an interesting quote.

Running: Met all goals. No Public Humiliation (tm) for me. Next week - Two 3.0's one 4.0.

Shoots: I'm still editing the Hourglass set. But here's another preview - it's just been cropped and resized, not touched up or anything. I had a great shoot Tuesday which I haven't looked at yet. I have a potentially great shoot scheduled this week but regular readers will know the chance of any given shoot happening as scheduled isn't what one would hope.

Portraits: I was talking to somebody about scheduling a portrait shoot and they had a great idea - to schedule it a couple of months out, pay the deposit, and then spend the intermediate time working out and toning up a bit. Talk about motivation! I can't recommend it if you're planning a crash diet but for exercise it seems like a clever idea.

Hiatus: Due to some personal commitments I'm going to be mostly offline for a while around the end of the month and the beginning of October. I'll post some more detailed cutoff dates later, but if you want something unusual (large sizes, white borders around prints) I'd get that in sooner rather than later or I may not be able to get to it right away. Also eBay auctions will end in a week or so and then resume around October 1st. (I'll be out of commission for a few more days, but since they take a week to run it all kind of works out).

Friday, September 01, 2006


Running: Met my goals. Next week - Mon/Wed 2.5 miles, Fri 3.0 miles

Kind of a crazy week - Yesterday I fit in a last minute maternity shoot on the same day I was shooting Hourglass again. I'll try to get the new Hourglass set edited sooner rather than later - it might show up as two sets since we did a fun little lingerie shoot at the end and those don't really have anything to do with the rest of the shoot.

Today I spent much of the day building a UV exposure unit - 6 UV light bulbs on a 2x3 grid. I made two cyanotypes with it today and they look great - looks like about a 7 minute exposure which implies around 4 minutes for Vandyke but I'll have to test that another day. My unit's pretty similar to this one if you're curious. $90 for bulbs, $50 for everything else. Buying one's around $650 so I'm glad I'm "handy" enough to wire up something like that. The alternative process prints have been selling well enough that I was comfortable sinking a day and $150 into infrastructure stuff so I can make prints during the rainy season, which is good to see.

The rest of the week - who even remembers at this point?

Here's a teaser shot from the Hourglass shoot. You see here Hourglass is obeying the safety rules.

(For blue staters and Europeans I should probably say the safety rules. Red staters already know.)

Roughly stated they're...

1. It's loaded.
2. Don't put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
3. Don't point it at anything you want to keep.

That's for adults. For kids it's.
1. Don't touch it.
2. Get an adult.

Thus endeth the lesson.