Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More on eBay changes

Pictured is an ACEO of Lily.

One thing that may not be clear from the fee changes is that the final value fees (FVF) went way up. They keep talk about lowering fees, but it's listing fees and they buried the final value fee change. For my typical $20 item it currently costs $0.95 to list and $1.05 if it sells, so $2 from ebay (and another $1.07 from PayPal but that hasn't changed).

Under the new system - gallery is free and the base price is a nickle less, so it only costs $0.55 to list it. But the FVF is now $1.75, for a total of $2.30. So if it sells, it costs 30 cents more than before. If it doesn't sell, it costs 40 cents less than before (assuming you used gallery, otherwise a nickle).

So basically this could either be a cut or an increase depending on what percentage of your stuff sells.

Now, there's also some discounts to the FVF if your DSRs - the new star feedback system - are above some level. I actually qualify now because my DSRs are in the top 10% of everybody on eBay. But the numbers are fixed, and if you drop below in any category you're screwed. It's also over the last 30 days so you can't build up good points - one 4 star rating and you're probably out of luck. And everybody's expecting the changes in the feedback system to lead to lower feedback. So basically nobody is counting on this, it's just a bonus if you get lucky in some month, and realistically people who ship heavy things are always out of luck since they'll get dinged on the shipping cost category even if they're not charging any extra for shipping - most people don't realize how much it costs to ship heavy stuff.

So the good news is it makes it cheaper to flood eBay with speculative stuff - if I want to list a bunch of landscapes to see if they'll sell that's easier now. The bad news is it makes it easier to flood eBay with speculative stuff - there's likely to be even more crap than there is now which makes finding the good stuff harder.

This brings us to the other category of change which is that they're totally redoing search and feedback is supposed to be a factor. Which of course means it's now worthwhile to buy from the competition and screw them because whereas before frankly most buyers didn't pay a lot of attention to feedback now it's right in the algorithm - screw somebody and your items get listed first.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

eBay Changes

Well, the annual fee changes are in. Probably some of this helps me and some hurts me and it's not obvious yet which are which. As an example lower selling fees sounds good but it floods the market with stuff that won't sell, which makes it harder to find the good stuff. But they're changing search to let the good guys float to the top a bit. But they're changing feedback to make negative feedback for sellers much more common to seperate the good guys from the bad guys a bit. Which they're doing by not allowing sellers to give negatives to buyers (even if they don't pay) so the buyers can neg with impunity. This is bad because there's already a lot of buyer fraud - they'll ask for a partial refund based on some tiny flaw that isn't really there or was clearly in the original listing and threaten to neg you if you don't comply.

Luckily we have a month to figure it all out. One thing that's clear is it's going to make it easier to sell low cost stuff, which isn't bad timing because that brings us to the second thing I'd like to mention, which is I just started listing ACEOs. These are little 2.5 x 3.5 prints - same as a baseball card. People collect them. I definitely understand this - I have way more art than I can use due to trades and it's all just sitting in a pile. I'd love to have lots of little prints in a binder or something that I could look at more easily. You can use all the baseball card storage options so you don't need anything exotic. They're signed, limited editions so they're quite collectable.

I'm going to do this with cyanotypes now and other alt process prints later if it works OK. Part of the point is to let the ACEO guys collect them, and part is to provide a cheap way for folks to see what cyanotypes look like. With that in mind I have a special picture I'm not listing on eBay which will only be given out with print orders - kind of a lottery thing.

If anybody's wondering, the reason I can do this cheap is that I can fit nine on a cyanotype negative and then just cut them up with scissors! So even if they end up selling for $5 each that's $45 per cyanotype which isn't great but at least covers costs and there's a marketing aspect to it. And if I can get them selling for more like $10 that's great. But it's always better to raise print costs than lower them (think of it like a stock price) so I've started them at $5 at auction and we'll let the market decide what they're worth.

Check 'em out!

I'm off to the PowerSeller discussion forum to watch everybody's head explode - I think a lot of people are going to be furious with some of the eBay changes, especially to feedback.

Copper

This image is a bit of a cheat - the prints from this process darken up over a few days and this one's still a bit young. But I was photographing some cyanotypes so I thought I'd shoot one of these while I was at it and just bump the contrast up a bit so the tonal range looks like the test chart. Point being just to give some idea of what these look like.

It's an interesting process - I'll play with it on and off for a while I suspect. If any alt process guys are reading this - this is based on but not identical to the copper prints Bernie (didn't catch his last name) showed at APIS.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Andy Rooney Moment

Good ol' Harlan - people feel the same about photography - why should I pay you $X when I can just go buy a camera and do it myself? I've actually had people who wanted to license an image who, after rejecting my price, asked me for advice on how to shoot it themselves.

And the stuff about them not sending copies is true - I run about 50% - I've let newspapers and other entities run things for free, just asking for a copy for my files, and they only send it about half the time. Even one of my book covers which paid fairly well they never sent me my two copies, despite it being in the contract, and ignored my messages and the model's messages despite repeated nagging.

While we're on the subject of pet peeves - people who ask for advice and information have about a 50% "thank you" rate including people who should know better. Or they'll thank you months later when they have a followup question. Guess how often I answer the second question? I'm really getting very cynical - I get tons of email asking about lighting and such including from people with high end portrait studios. I'm going to have to write a little pamphlet and start charging for it or something.

Anyway, enough of me, watch Harlan Ellison rant away, he's better at it...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kudos

Well, kudos for two companies. One's Amazon - I bought a memory card and had the price drop by about a third a couple of days later. Whoops. But if you go to this help page and click on "Post-Order Price Guarantee" and follow the directions they'll issue a quick refund for the difference (with various rules and regulations). It's not as good as their pre-release protection where they just do it automatically, but still cool to get a $28 refund for two minutes of notifying them. Definitely worth keeping an eye on any big ticket items. Something like a camera can easily bounce around quite a bit in a month's time.

The other is UPS. I bought cardboard from papermart - I need pre-cut cardboard to ship prints efficiently and they had the best price at the moment - and it arrived when I was running an errand. Now, we're getting totally drenched today but there was one little dry patch near the door and the UPS guy put it in just the right place. Anywhere else and it would have been soaked... and it's a box of cardboard, soaked is bad!

PS That's the remaining cyanotype over platinum print I didn't have in yesterday's post.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cyanotype Over Platinum

I've been meaning to photograph these so I can share them here and list them for sale on eBay but due to my studio stuff being put away from the holidays I never quite got around to it. But I dug some gear out and shot these today, and re-photographed some other prints that weren't totally flat when I originally shot them (they looked kind of crooked, which they weren't). But there are three new cyanotype over platinum prints and one new platinum print I hadn't photographed yet. Look for these to be listed on eBay over the next week or so if you're looking for a deal (or if you want one in particular just order it from the website - I'm happy to make them for folks).

While I was at it I updated some of the pictures on the alternative process page so feel free to check that out too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This and that

Pictured is Mocha in my tradition of highlighting an old shoot when I have nothing better to use.

The crappy weather here continues - cold Alaskan rain coming down here and causing snow with just a bit of elevation. I'm pretty much at sea level so it's just kind of miserable and wet. Not super rainy, not super windy although we did have a power outage for a couple of hours last night that went as far as I could see in any direction (and I called somebody 3/4 of a mile away and they didn't have power either). One outdoor shoot got rescheduled, one didn't (traveling model, but the way she's been acting the last couple of days I wouldn't shoot with her even if she came back to town.) I fear the worst for my shoot scheduled Sunday but we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Update: On the way back from the post office it snowed! Just a few flakes but that's very, very unusual at sea level in California. Last time I saw it personally was just about 20 years ago and never before then. (I've seen it at elevation or out of state but only twice below, say, a thousand feet in CA).

I definitely will do some studio work earlier than I intended so watch for that. It will be a mix of nude and clothed work since I'm more officially doing clothed portraits (I know, the shock) and I basically just put some placeholder images up for now. So if you're local, attractive, and want some free pictures drop me a note.

Last reminder for the CD and the calendar which won't be sold after Feb 1st. There's also copies of the extremely limited edition "Plain Brown Wrapper" book. I wanted to give blog readers first shot at it, but while I'm changing things Feb 1st I'll put a link on the main page so it will get a lot more traffic.

I had a print returned as undeliverable for no obvious reason. The post office had it since December 26th and just got it back to me, the charmers. It's all nasty looking and beat up but the print survived it all and is just fine. Kind of a small miracle - I do try to package the prints so they can survive some abuse, but you can't protect against everything and this one was pretty bad.

So that's it for life in nude photography land. Exciting stuff, I know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

San Leandro in the News


The city of San Francisco denied the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon permission to film in the city so they ended up shooting on federal land on the other side of the gate in Marin county. You'll see it right at the end - lovely area. I actually don't live in city limits - I live in the east bay area, but "East San Francisco Bay Area Kind of Near Oakland Nudes" didn't really cut it. I live in a town called San Leandro, in fact.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that when they filmed this they went across the US giving demonstrations - they do a very unique routine with M1 Garand rifles with bayonets flinging them around with no kind of spoken cadence to keep them in time. The professionalism and discipline is, well, you know, they're Marines, they're like that. So where did they kick it off? Where did they perform on September 10th, 2007, the day before they shot the bridge footage?

San Leandro High School! They have some shots on their website - very cool to see the drill team in front of the local hills.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Little updates


I've been scouting around for shooting locations (these shots are from my little point and shoot) and generally trying to get out of the house. The weather's been good... until today... and of course I have two morning nude shoots scheduled this week... I also have pouring rain and it's about 42 degrees at two in the afternoon. This is not normal - generally if it's this cold it's crisp and still, rain means warm. Frankly I don't know how it's all going to go - just going to have to check the radar the night before and make a go/no go decision each day. I can shoot in a certain amount of rain, but at some point it just gets silly, especially near the bay.

I've also had some problems with models getting a day or two away from the shoot and basically asking "Wait, isn't it going to be cold at sunrise on the bay in January". Um, yeah. Or I'll say we need to do it really early in the morning for the right light, and they'll agree, and I'll ask them the earliest they can get over here and it's 11:00. Um, yeah. So I definitely appreciate - and I hope you all appreciate - the gals who are tough enough to do these shoots.

I've done some alternative process stuff - still working on getting copper prints to work but I can see that I ought to be able to get some nice prints - I need to let some test charts age a bit (it seems to darken up a bit with time and I want to be able to measure when they stabilize) and then I can print negatives and make prints. I have some platinum and cyanotype over platinum prints I need to photograph and I've been putting that off since my studio stuff is put away but I'll start doing studio work in a bit and will have no excuse.

Probably in a week or two I'll start contacting models about studio shoots, and I've gone so far as to make up a list or two, but nothing too serious yet.

So that's really about it in terms of news.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Pictures: Lily Outdoors

Well, the set with Lily is up. I'll probably come back in a week or two after I have a bit of distance from the shoot and do one more pass on slimming this shoot down a bit, but I'm sure folks will manage with the larger set for now.

Still at three scheduled outdoor shoots by the end of the month and a couple of long shots. I'll probably start looking around to schedule studio shoots around Feb 1st and start actually doing studio work a week or two later. I want to start doing around one clothed shoot per month on a trade basis just to beef up my clothed portfolio for portrait work and such. I might also have some of the models bring one cute outfit for the last part of the shoot so that will add to the mix as well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

40D second impression/Oakland Zoo

Well, the camera works. The Oakland Zoo is actually very cool as it turns out - it's not huge but the animals have plenty of space and the habitats are the modern nice naturalistic kind where the animals are much happier. There's a few angles like the one pictured where you can see the surrounding homes in the east bay hills which is kind of funny if you're a local. Also the vegetation is mostly what you would find anywhere in the east bay so the lions are sitting under California Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) which is a bit odd in its own way. But it's of no consequence, it's just a bit odd for me to realize there are elephants up in the hills.

If you're thinking about some San Francisco tourism and have some kids who need a break or just like animals, definitely consider it as a change of pace. It's pretty close to Berkeley and other east bay places you might want to visit.

The only real camera notes is that the autofocus does a good job - the river otters and meerkats and an active gibbon put it through its paces - and I fired off some buffer-filling bursts (17 shots in RAW) just to see how it did and it writes to the card so fast you pause just for a moment and you have a couple more shots ready. I didn't time it but just holding the button down it's noticeably faster than the 20D to take follow-up shots even though the files are bigger. It's really nothing you couldn't do by practicing on the household cat but I got some exercise and I'd been meaning to check out the Zoo anyway.

I have three model shoots scheduled and a couple of more where we don't have a date yet that might turn out, all by the end of the month so hopefully we'll get a real test soon.

Politics

At least one of the local art galleries started spamming its "new show" mailing list with junk mail for one of the Presidential candidates. I unsubscribed - I get enough of that as it is. You know, I just really don't care what some gallery owner's opinion on politics is and some whoo-hoo for such-and-such a candidate isn't going to change my mind on, oh, actual issues.

If you want to promote your own agenda get a blog like everybody else. ;-)

PS This is probably a good time to remind everybody that there's a slimmed down feed - see to the right sidebar - that just has major picture updates. If you subscribe to the blog feed you'll get some extra stuff, like the recent film update and post shoot notes but you'll also get me whining about other people's mailing lists. Only you can decide if that tradeoff is worth it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canon 40D first impressions

Well, it arrived today in time to pop over to the local college where I always test new cameras. This isn't exactly a compelling image, but it's what you're getting - I was just playing around with it, getting a feel for the controls and so forth. Maybe I'll go to the zoo tomorrow or something (no, not the San Francisco Zoo - no tiger dinner for me!)

Thoughts (versus my 20D)
*Like the big screen although the preview jpg should have more resolution and probably the screen should too.
*Big bright viewfinder - not up to full frame standards but a big improvement.
*ISO 3200 is shockingly clean. I really had no idea they'd improved it that much.
*Everything on the computer end of things - zooming, scrolling, flipping through images - all faster.
*Massive buffer and takes shots fast.
*Shutter much, much more quiet. I should get fewer stares at certain kinds of events.
*Shutter button overly sensitive, at least in high speed mode. Took lots of accidental pairs of shots (double taps!).
*The files are much larger - some of this is because the resolution is higher, and some is because it saves more bits per pixel. It's probably time to retire the oldest/smallest card and add another one on the high end.

In an ideal universe I'd like to have this camera for sports/wildlife/events and for the studio a full frame with more resolution even if the frames per second is low. Depending on Canon's announcements Jan 24th it will hopefully be clear what I want to do. As an example I wouldn't be happy with just a Canon 5D because at 3fps it's just too slow out of the studio, but in combination with a 40D that's an option. But I'd just as soon wait for the latest-greatest, especially if they split the line into a more expensive and cheaper camera - the cheaper/slower full frame will probably be fine as long as I have the 40D to fall back to when I feel the need for speed.

Keep in mind I pretty much have to have two digital SLRs - I really, really would hate to have one fail in the middle of a portrait gig - and it's looking more and more like it's not worth repairing my dear beloved 20D so pretty much I'm going to blow the 2008 hardware budget on digital bodies and that's that. Luckily I got three years out of the last one so this isn't an annual kind of deal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New shots up - Agfa Isolette

Well, between the shoots with Lily (pictured here) and CK (see the last two blog entries) I ended up taking two test rolls, both in square format, both in a camera where I'd avoided giving it its own folder - in the past they'd all been cropped to 8x10 and just mixed in with the others. But these were mostly shot with square format in mind, so I'm just giving them their own space.

Check 'em out.

Film

Nothing like having only 12 shots available to make you value each one. I just thought I'd share this shot of CK while waiting for them to scan.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Whoops!

So it's like this.

Beautiful model... check.
Beautiful location... check.
Early morning light... check.
Take picture of model's ID... check.
Take picture of white balance card... check.
Take initial burst of model... click click click click.
Stop taking initial burst of model... click click click
Turn camera off... click click click
Remove battery... silence.
Start to reinsert battery (camera still off)... click click click

Shutter failure. Canon 20D, 130K shots. The clicks sound like it trying to take a picture but what's going on is that the mirror is stuck in some weird position and it's trying to return it. It's about a $300 repair.

Look at backup camera options. Not good. I have a film camera, but not much film. I only intended to shoot a test roll to try a film/developer combo. There's a pro camera store that's not that far away in the grand scheme of things but I don't think they're open yet. I need medium format film. And the camera? My 1950s Agfa Isolette - the one where to focus you guess how far away the subject is and dial it into the lens.

So what can you do? Curse the fact that you for once in your life didn't have a backup plan (in the studio this would have been no big deal other than the expense, but I didn't have a full set of stuff in the field), grovel a bit with the model, and hope she'll humor you with a reshoot when you get the camera repaired/replaced.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Huh

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brrrrr!

The water's around 45-50 degrees.

Post Shoot Notes: Lily


Yeah, I know, I shot with Lily just a little while ago, but wanted to get in another shoot before she got too popular!

It was a longish outdoor shoot - almost three hours outdoors, starting at dawn. My pedometer says we hiked over 3 miles and it's pretty accurate in general but in this case it's probably an underestimate because there was a lot of stepping from rock to rock. Point being it might be a week or so before I really can go through the whole thing and find all the gems. But here's two that I grabbed while scanning the thumbnails to make sure everything copied over OK.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

APO/FPO

As a kind of postscript to my comments about international packages, I might as well mention APO/FPO addresses. It's the system the US uses to get mail to members of the military. Basically it's a hybrid of the regular US mail and you address it just like regular domestic mail and pay for it just like regular domestic mail but the customs gets wacky because it still has to be imported into a host country. And you may not necessarily know where it is, or be allowed to know where it is, but you still can't break any custom rules. Fun, huh? Well, it's actually no big deal as we'll see.

So with the actual addressing the only difference is instead of

John Smith
123 Main Street,
Whittier, CA, 90604


It will be more like
John Smith
Often a unit or box # or something
APO AE, AE 09705

Well, the post office gets this and there's a fake state which will be AA, AE, AP. I believe AP ends up getting routed to San Francisco. And the zip code will be in the general ballpark of the real city's zip code so that the mail will just flow naturally to the right location. Then it's the military's problem and they get it to the right place... eventually.

If you have any kind of tracking, you'll see it go to the right city and then you'll get some status saying it's been handed off and that's it - you can't really tell after that point.

So really the only hitch is that maybe you're sending a picture of a naked woman, and if they are at a European base they don't care, and if they're in Iraq or whatever local law prohibits it. Now, if you're just sending a gift to a loved one probably it will get through, but imagine you send a lot of packages and the last thing you need is customs hassles.

Well, there's a few lookup sites on the web, including if you use the post office site to do the postage they'll show the regulations for that zip code. There's a useful site Onconus.com where you can look them up. So let's compare 09334 to 09705. 09705 is great - there's hardly any regulations for 09705. 09334 isn't so fun - look at that. No pork, no alcohol, no obscene materials, and oh, E2, that's my nemesis. "Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons" - now, I've never gotten a good description of seminude for this purpose, but I bet I'm included. Note there's nothing in there about it being sexy or art being excluded - if you're seminude you're done.

So once you've packaged it up, you address it as above and you pay normal US postage you just have to do a customs form. There are forms of different lengths and complexity depending on details like how valuable the item is, but usually you can just do a 2976 form which is simple. If you use the USPS website to print the label they'll actually include the customs info right on the label. Easy.

You could probably write a book about this stuff - people who use the system often seem to have a lot of little tricks to make it work for them - but that's the gist. It's not scary, it's not expensive, it's just worth double checking the customs rules if you don't want to risk it and then filling out a short customs form. It's amazing how many small stores won't ship to these addresses because they don't want the hassle. They say they don't want to have to hire people to fill out customs forms, but Amazon ships to APO/FPO addresses and they get by somehow even though you would think with their business model it would be a big hassle for them. The only excuse I'll kind of sort of buy is if they have a bulk deal with UPS/FedEx and don't ever use regular US mail... but if that's true they'd better not be shipping to PO boxes either because it's exactly the same.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Book Announcement

Well, this is exciting. I got in a copy of something I've been waiting for - a copy of a thin book, 10x10 inches, plain black leather cover. Inside are 19 of my pictures and a title page and so forth. This is an experiment - it's made by one of these companies that do books for weddings. They're different from the mass-market print on demand companies in that they're optimized for quality, assume you'll only make a couple of them at most, and price be damned. Even a very small one can cost the photographer hundreds of dollars to produce from some of the more extreme companies (I have accounts at some of those companies). This one's more reasonable but still considered a wedding-grade book.

I'm selling a very limited lettered edition (like a numbered edition, but snootier - so your copy might be C/J instead of 3/10). They're $100 each which actually leaves me with very little profit but I'd rather give this idea as much as a chance as possible and if it sells out fast, oh well. If it's a hit I'll have the freedom to experiment - maybe do a book of just one model or with girls with a particular body type or something.

Details including the exact images are on the Plain Brown Wrapper page, which is what I'm calling it informally (future ones might have dust jackets but I actually love the look of a one-color square thin book.)

Any local, pregnant gals?

Model is Clarissa.

So as regular readers know, part of my income is from doing portrait work. A good part of that is maternity work. And the only portfolio shots I have are of Clarissa, which were taken about two years ago. And I have learned a lot since then of course and I really ought to get model releases for one or two pregnancy shoots to really show off the latest-greatest. So if anybody out there will be in the area and 7+ months pregnant in the next few months, and you're 18-30 years old, give me a shout. We can set up a free shoot which will save you $300-$500 in return for signing a model release so I can use the images for my purposes.

Monday, January 07, 2008

More little updates

That's from an old set with one of the Sarahs.

The cyanotype over platinum prints went very well - I'll have pictures of those up in another couple of days when they're totally dry. They're a giant pain in the ass but I was reminded today why I bother - they're just super cool looking.

The copper prints... hmm... the color's very nice (kind of a brick red) and I'm getting an image but they're rather light - seems like they need a really long exposure. On the other hand apparently they darken with time, so I basically just want to sit on these test charts for a while and see what happens. I tried some different papers I had on hand and the one that worked best - naturally I only had a couple of sheets. But it's not too expensive so I ordered 50 sheets. I think this will make a nice little backburner project - if I make other kinds of prints, once I'm done try high humidity, low humidity, everything I can think of basically to affect the final print. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll be in a position to print a real image (I'm mostly doing test charts now, oh boy) and share it just to show what in the world I'm up to.

I did get a very late holiday boost - I'm still dropping lots of packages off at the post office daily - but I'm caught up on custom printmaking and the lab seems to be pretty much back on their usual fast pace so it should be business as usual.

If you haven't checked out the deal on the CD, you may want to do it now.

I have three models scheduled for outdoor shoots that look pretty good, and one maybe and one where I haven't heard from her in a while and I think she lost interest when she realized I meant it about starting early in the morning. There's also a couple of models who have expressed some kind of vague interest but we haven't gotten close to a date yet. I'm starting to miss shooting models, which is good - I'm always careful to take breaks and focus on printmaking or the website or whatever.

The waitress at lunch today would make a perfect model. Just stunning. I don't think it's really fair to put somebody like that on the spot asking them about modeling, especially nude, but it would be nice to just leave something. I have this image of making some business cards that just have something super tasteful on one side, and Wanna model? and a URL on the back and leave it with the tip and if she wants to check it out she can and if not, well, business cards are cheap.

Anyway, that's about it for now.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Little local updates

Was just hammered by rain today - 120K people still without power. I did a post office run today but don't be shocked if things are a day or so slower than normal.

The polar bear fence at the zoo is also too short. It's kind of a moot point though - the zoo opened for a day and then had to shut right back down because of storm damage.

I'm going to try making some prints today with a really obscure copper process. Let's hope the lights stay on a little longer...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rain

That's Kamarose again.

It's raining, just as predicted. I did lose power briefly last night when things were blowing like crazy but it's not too bad where I am at the moment - more like "rain" and less like "storm". I'm actually making platinum prints right now - I have a backlog, basically because it's been so dry. Luckily people who appreciate these enough to pay full rate ($125) for one made just for them from a shot they picked off the website (as opposed to something I printed on speculation and listed on eBay) are generally very understanding that this isn't exactly like you hit a button and you're done. But if the humidity stays high today I should not only get caught up but finally get started on the next round of cyanotype over platinum prints.

Update: Got the prints made - lost power very briefly but not at a critical moment. Apparently there are lots of people out of power still (hundreds of thousands) - lots of poles down and transformers blown. Could be days before it's all sorted out and the third storm I think is supposed to hit this evening. But I seem to have gotten lucky on this one. It also helps that I work at home since traffic is rather exciting - they had to close one bridge because the winds were so bad that trucks were being blown over. Scary!

PS I'm hearing

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tiger Rant

Model is Kamarose.

The first storm's mostly to the north of here -raining but not too hard.

So the zoo is reopening, and there's a huge number of people who are saying "Well, they taunted the tiger, what did you expect?" and the zoo director in particular who a) wants to protect his 350K/year job and b) doesn't want to go to jail keeps hinting about this. Nevermind that they don't have any actual proof of this, because it doesn't matter.

Look, if I go to the zoo, rub myself down with hamburger, swing a whole salmon around my head three times, strip, and moon the tiger the tiger still shouldn't be able to get out if only because he's just as likely to eat the grandma next to me as not. If you have a tiger near members of the public, especially a tiger which has already mauled its keepers, you have a responsibility to not let the tiger wander around and eat people, no matter what dumb thing they do. And this business of badmouthing the victim while changing your story to the press over and over again - even to basic facts like the height of the fence which has changed several times - doesn't somehow relieve you of that responsibility.

New Model: Kamarose

Well, they're telling us that we're going to be hit with massive storms the next couple of days, leading to power outages and general chaos. So I thought I'd better finish these up now - the pictures of Kamarose are finally up.

On another note, I removed the calendar from the main index page, but you can still order it from the publisher for a while. I'll remove it at some point because it really pisses me off browsing their stuff and finding 2006 calendars mixed in with everything else. But it will be up until, oh, maybe St. Patrick's day.

I have a bunch of cool shoots tentatively scheduled over the next month and will schedule more but outdoor shoots are the worst for reliability - between weather, people getting cold feet, people realizing that I mean it when I say we shoot at sunrise (you wouldn't believe how many times I say we'll do it as early as possible and the model suggests 11:00 or something). The other problem is that winter break giveth and winter break taketh away. Meaning a lot of gals who have big plans for modeling while they're home for Christmas discover they're having too much fun partying and visiting friends to actually do any work. So the bottom line is that I might only get a couple of shoots in before I start doing studio work again (around Feb 1st) but they will probably be with exceptional models.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Product: Website CD

That's still Kamarose - just about done with her stuff.

I've been toying with the idea of doing something like this basically as long as I've had the site - the choice of a download or CD of the website. Yes, it's possible just to pull everything down for free, you're mostly paying for convenience. There's about 20,000 files that make up the website - about 6,000 pictures and each has a HTML file, a thumbnail, and the actual image.

I've had people ask about something like this, and I've had other photographers suggest it, and so I'm trying it out. This will be a limited test - I'm only going to mention it on the blog, not on the main website, and you have until Feb 1st at the latest. After that I'll see what I've learned and go from there.

More details on the CD page.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tigers!

Fun little tidbit -

First off, I've never actually been to the San Francisco Zoo, where a tiger decided that it wanted to go for a walk, and gee, the fence wasn't high enough and it ended up with bodies on the ground and four rather stunned cops finding out that yes, you can take out a tiger with handguns. .40 Sig 229s I think they use if anybody's going shopping. I go to the San Diego Zoo, which is world class, but I don't really enjoy 2nd tier zoos where the animals don't look that happy and the reputation of the SF Zoo is pretty bad frankly.

Now, I've also never been to the Oakland Zoo, which is apparently actually pretty nice these days - it's small but they've put a lot of money into making nice habitats and so forth. And I actually live basically down the street from the zoo - in a neighboring town, but not far at all. It's totally lame that I've never paid the $10 to stick my head in and check it out and I'll have to do that soon. But they just announced that their tiger fence is also too low - 13.5 feet at the low point, and that's about three feet shorter than the minimum and of course they're going to improve it. But for the moment there's a tiger down the street that is basically staying in its area because it wants to. Reassuring, huh?

(There were 126+ murders in Oakland in 2007 so I don't think anybody's super concerned about the tiger, but hey, I have too much imagination for my own good.)

PS They have a little page on the tigers at the Oakland Zoo - they're from a circus.

Happy New Year!

Best of luck to everybody in 2008. I feel like I got there last - I received well-wishes from Asia and Europe way back when I was in 2007. I should have sent email to somebody in Hawaii but I thought about it too late. Oh, well!
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