Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Marketing

Parked out in front of the local post office there was a pickup truck with a large hand painted sign on the tailgate.

"Ship UPS around the corner next to the McDonalds! No long lines!"

(I think there's a Mailboxes, etc. there)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Space prints!

OK, you can check out four of the eight space prints I made on this eBay account. The plan is to list the other four in a couple of days. Anything that doesn't sell I'll relist once. Worst case that will be $25 in listing fees so I only have to sell one to at least get my listing fees back. If a good number sell, I'll list more and probably also some of my nature/travel photography in platinum. If they don't I'll dispose of them elsewhere.

It's very weird using a second eBay account - all the settings are different, I don't have the selling manager on that account, etc. etc. If it's successful I'll have to open a store (which has a monthly fee) and so forth. But I think there's a lot of potential with this stuff.

I listed the two brush coated 11x14 nudes of Helena here and here - as I said they're a bit rough on the edges. Experience shows some will be horrified and some delighted. Let's hope the delighted ones have a few bucks to spend!

Well, I have to package up prints and head to the post office. Everything piled up over the Thanksgiving weekend - it's always a bit odd telling Europeans I'm going to be a little slow to ship because of a holiday they don't celebrate. I assume because of American TV/Movies they basically know what the deal is with Thanksgiving but perhaps not just how many people travel and how much is shut down for a couple of days.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New Pictures: Mavis

I just put up the new set with Mavis.

In other news, over the last couple of days I made a bunch of 5x7 image on 8x10 paper ziatypes of a variety of subjects - space images (courtesy NASA) and family stuff and just different stuff I had around from different cameras and times. No problems - it's very reassuring to be able to print a diverse set of things and have them all look good. It's also nice because I mostly brush coated them and that worked great as well.

I'll be putting a variety of these images up for sale once I've had a chance to photograph them. Probably under another name but I'll put up a link here - I just don't want somebody buying a picture of Saturn to worry about getting feedback from "San Francisco Nudes". I'll probably start them at $40ish.

I also brush coated two images in 11x14 (8x10 images) and they're um, a bit irregular but given the images in question that's OK. They do look a little extra handmade. I'll put them up for auction, who knows, maybe people will like them even more than normal. I think I prefer the rod coating for images that large at this point - you only have so much time to work everything in and there's twice the surface area to deal with - but it's nice to have the option.

Next up is a bunch of cyanotypes, which will probably take me a few days to go through, and then I intend to have a set of nude ziatypes on the smaller paper - they'll be cheaper than the usual ones ($50), easier to mail, and I gather some people prefer to have nudes be a bit smaller rather than a bit larger if they're going to put them up someplace public. It's always good to give people options.

I'm also booking shoots up until December 15 and then I'm taking a break from shooting - so any models reading this, if you've been meaning to drop me a note, now's your chance!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Pictures: Abby

As promised, a small set with Abby.

(Update: These were eventually consolidated back into the original set, so I updated the link Update 2: and the original set's been retired, so no longer a link at all!)

Printmaking

Much like how I got started with paid portrait/maternity work - when you do something and are pretty good at it, people start asking you about related activities. People have started asking me about making prints for them from their work. The two scenarios are a photographer who wants to sell them but doesn't want to invest the time into learning the process and somebody who just wants one to have or to give as a gift. So I have to be able to offer suitable pricing for everybody from somebody who wants one and somebody who wants an edition of 30.

So I put up a little page describing costs and so forth. You can read it here. This isn't something I'm going to promote heavily - right now there's just a link on the bottom of the alt process page - but at least now when people ask I don't have to rehash all that.

In other news I have two shoots I've done that I'm currently editing. One is the shoot with Abby I mentioned last time - it won't be large but there's some nice stuff in there. The other is very cool - I can't wait to start editing it!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Weekly Update

I did another shoot with Abby - here's her old set - mostly doing some portfolio stuff for her but I'll get at least some stuff up here once they're edited.

I made another cyanotype on papyrus - I'll put it up for sale at some point. I have another negative that I intend to print on papyrus and I may wait until that one's done first.

I have some 8x10 COT320 paper on order and once it arrives I'll do two things - make a less expensive line of ziatypes with an image around 5x7, (should be $50) and I also think it's time to proceed along with a project I've been meaning to do which is to take a variety of space images and print them in platinum. NASA has all kinds of goodies that you can use however you like so why not? I'll be selling them on eBay under another ID. Eventually I'll be printing some of my travel and nature photography under that account as well. I'll post details here once I get that rolling.

That should keep me busy for a while, anyway!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Pictures: Sarah T

I was doing some social stuff with Sarah, and after she was kind enough to let me do some lighting tests with some dark gray paper. One of those little photographer details is that seamless paper gets dirty and you have to replace it eventually. I bought a new white roll and decided to try gray while I was at it. (For black I use a felt-like fabric - black paper doesn't look that great).

Anyway, they're a bit goofy, and they're not nude, but you might enjoy checking them out.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Weekly Update

First off, thanks to any veterans reading this, especially those who are active duty in the US military - I know a number of my customers are. It's actually a problem sometimes since I do ship to APO/FPO addresses where possible although those addresses are still subject to local customs rules. My stuff's considered illegal in several countries... (artistic merit doesn't enter into it).

I have a cold, nothing serious, but I was short on my running last week and it's too early to tell about next week.

I've listed quite a few ziatypes - one's still up for auction - I also had ten in the store but that's down to eight since some have been purchased already.

I also sold the cyanotype on papyrus I made a while back and the customer's received it and absolutely loves it, which is reassuring. I think they're very cool but it's always good to get a reality check as to if anybody else likes something I like!

My two next goals with the printmaking is to make a couple more papyrus prints and to try some toned ziatypes - if you add a bit of sodium tungstate it warms things up quite a bit. I think I'll probably prefer to use ziatype for neutral blacks and vandyke for warmer pictures but it's silly not to try it, especially since I do have some of the toner already.

I just put in an order for some 8x10 paper which would let me make 5x7 ziatypes. I got it because I'm probably going to be involved in some art trades and it's an easier size to deal with and mail but I may also make some for sale. They'd let people check out a ziatype for less money ($50ish). I'll see if I can get some made in time for Christmas - they ought to make good gifts although generally the books and calendar make the most sense for gifts.

This is probably a good time also remind people that the whole mailing system gets kind of crazy starting around Thanksgiving. Packages always seem to get there eventually but a package that normally takes two days might take a week. And it just seems like there's more opportunity for something bad to happen the longer the post office has it. So if you're thinking about getting something, sooner's always better than later.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote!

Some races today are so close, and so dependent on voter turnout, that unexpected rain in some states may influence the outcome. If you were too lazy to get your ass out to a polling place I don't want to hear you whining about the outcome.

In other news, a local photographer who's worked with Kat and Persis and Sarah is putting his toe into the eBay waters. Check out his store. My feeling is that the more good photographers that sell there, the more it will be a 'destination' for collectors so go show him a little love. :-)

I've put a Ziatype up for auction. It's a featured item (which costs about $20) and it's basically an exercise in getting traffic - the hope is that folks will see it and check out the other stuff while they're there. I started it at a penny - as of this point it has some bids but nothing too serious. In a weird bit of eBay logic people tend to click on items that already have bids, assuming they must be good, so a little early bidding action is always nice.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Election Note

(For the international folks who may not know - we have a big election in a couple of days.)

Just two little notes. The first is that both parties know basically that everybody's so polarized these days that the only people who are undecided are probably not going to vote anyway. So they're both putting lots of cash into get out the vote efforts. The Republicans in particular are doing a lot of small scale stuff - targeting likely Republican voters in a very precise way and trying to get them to show up. The Democrats are doing something similar but are apparently a bit behind the curve in terms of actual implementation.

As far as I can tell they've both targeted me because the phone is just ringing off the hook. And it's not like this is a particularly contested area. I doubt if any races I'll be voting in will be all that close.

The second is that you keep seeing polls on "likely voters". You may not know this about polling, but there's a variety of semi-scientific ways in which these polls always massage the data. The first is that there's always a ton of adjustment for race, income, whatever might influence the result because it's impossible to get a group of people answering your poll that matches the general population (some of this is because some people talk to pollsters more than others). And in particular in an election they adjust for "likely voters" which is partially based on if they say they've voted before, if they say they're likely to vote this time, etc.

The problem is that in any close race, if basically the entire outcome is based on who can mobilize their existing folks to show up, then when you do your poll all you show is what your likely voter model is. And in a race where there's reason to believe that the micro-targeting techniques may work (apparently they worked very nicely in test races in 2004 which is why the Republicans started pouring money into it) basically all the existing "likely voter" models are total garbage.

And yet, every day, there are people trumpeting how good their poll numbers are. Well, we'll know in a few days, won't we? But given what crap even the exit polls were in 2004 (because the bored exit polling folks somehow managed to interview a lot of cute young girls who on average voted for Kerry) I don't know why anybody believes these guys have the ability to predict squat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Little updates

I finished making some test prints in four processes - cyanotype, vandyke, platinum vandyke, and ziatype - based on curves from some free software called ChartThrob. It was rather finicky getting a linear scan for the curves but in the end it turned out to be a very useful exercise.

The ziatype prints in particular look wonderful. I've added a description of the process to the alternative process page and should have pictures in a day or two once everything's dry. The ziatypes will be $100 each (the chemicals are expensive and it's a bit of a tricky process).


I'm going to do more cyanotype on papyrus prints next.
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