Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yay for test shots


Both of these are lit by an off-camera battery powered flash. Click on them to really see the texture.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kelp

I've been trying to make this recent model cancellation sound interesting. Unfortunately most of what I think is particularly ironic about it requires a lot of explanation and the payoff just isn't worth it.

I think the take home message is that if she'd just ASKED I'd have let her out of the shoot or rescheduled despite her lame excuse. No harm done. But instead she just preemptively DEMANDED and I'll never work with her again. So in terms of this specific model, we'll leave it at that.

But the other thing about this that's interesting, to me anyway, is that I've noticed a lot of traveling models becoming a lot more short sighted. They're chasing a quick buck instead of building relationships. I wonder if that's a recession thing - more of them are doing it for money instead of love for art, but they're also hoping not to be doing it next year so they're really all about maximizing the short term. I wonder if the whole traveling model thing's going to implode - too many women who are more expensive than the locals (because they have overhead) and who aren't supplying the reliability that some of us were willing to pay for. Because if I'm going to be working with kelpy models anyway I'd just as soon work with random pretty coffee shop girls in exchange for a couple of prints.

We're not there yet - I've had a bunch of great shoots recently including three that I've shot but aren't on the site yet - but after this sequence of shoots over the next month I was pretty much going to shoot things other than models anyway for the rest of the year. But when I start booking again I need to seriously sit down and look at the models I've worked with and who flaked in the last year and figure out if the professional models are really *that* much better than random coffee shop or craigslist girls, both in terms of print sales and just plain showing up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little updates

That's Miette. If you haven't seen her set yet, you should.

Things are going well. Sales have picked up - still largely in the 11x14s, I don't know what's up with that but it's fine by me. Portrait work is picking up too. For some odd combination of reasons I've had a lot of great models contacting me to shoot so I have an excessive shoot schedule for a while but that's the kind of problem you want to have. (It's a combination of some traveling models converging on the area, and some people coming out of retirement.) I'll probably get to my shoot goal for the year by the end of October, and I'll keep shooting after that but probably at a reduced rate - focus on the non-nudes a bit. But in terms of this site I'll try to even it out so that I post a new set roughly every 10 days from here on out - that should work out nicely.

The whole dead-PC debacle continues. I'm copying data to some Mac-formatted drives. It's taking forever because I'm making two Mac copies of all of the photo data which is about 2.5 TB (so 5 TB total). It's about 10 hours per TB on my poor laptop between two USB drives so I haven't been online much - I don't really want to mess with the machine when it's 5 hours into a copy.

I'm pretty much comitted to moving my photo workflow all onto the Mac, but probably leaving some odds and ends on the PC (possibly as a dual boot on a future hypothetical iMac if I can afford the new ones that are supposed to be coming out shortly). The missing link is HTML generation. Lightroom is very flexible/programmable in that regard and I'll probably try to reproduce my normal page with the shopping cart buttons and all that in the next couple of days. If it works I'll just be uploading a few sets in that format as a test, but next time I want to make a site-wide change I'll regenerate the whole thing. Assuming it works, of course, for all I know once I actually start there will be some roadblock. Fingers are crossed...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New pictures: Miette outdoors

OK, nude shoot #25 for the year is up - Miette outdoors. We had worked together in the studio and I'd wanted to shoot with her outdoors but it took a long time to make it happen.

(my apologies to anybody who saw it with the odd colors - if you still see something strange try reloading.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Still messing around

The silver lining of this whole PC crash thing is that I'm using it as an opportunity to check out various demos/trial versions on the Mac. I'm impressed with Lightroom - it's going to save a lot of time choosing images and doing 95% of the manipulation I do (cropping, setting white balance, removing an occasional unfortunate mole or whatever).

Anyway, I'll have an outdoor set up Fridayish and this studio set perhaps a week later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last silver fiber

I'm down to one silver fiber print on eBay. You can order anything on the website with that process, but that's the last one I have on hand. It does take a couple of weeks to order them, so if anybody's in an instant gratification kind of mood now's your chance.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just playing around



Just trying some various photo related tools on the Mac on some test shots before I try to deal with a whole set.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Huh

Friday, September 18, 2009

On the bright side

'nuff said.

New Pictures: Berkeley Night Shoot

Subtitled "Argh!" First off, here are the pictures. Unfortunately my desktop PC has some issues. It won't boot - I can get all the data off, it's not a hardware problem, but my Windows install is hosed and I'll probably have to reinstall things (and of COURSE I have no idea where the XP install disk is, and Windows 7 isn't out for a month - if it was out now I'd just decide I might as well upgrade). I have one or two tricks left to try but I'm not hopeful. I'll probably also just get the Mac versions of a few things and shift those functions over to my laptop.

It shouldn't really have any big effect on my work here, except I'd have to hand edit and FTP the main index page to really link that set in properly and I'm not going to bother today - I want to focus on getting things running to whatever extent I can. The link's here and on twitter and Facebook (links in the sidebar) so hopefully that'll cover anybody who was actually expecting it today.

Update: I remembered that Adobe has 30 day trials of their stuff so I have Dreamweaver, Photoshop, etc. running on my Mac now. So I can do most website stuff fairly easily, although for some things it would involve copying things to and from my old (crappy) PC laptop. It'll buy me some time, anyway. I'm increasingly thinking if I'm going to go to the work to reinstall everything on the PC I might as well just do it on my Mac and hopefully get a new Mac desktop when the next set of iMacs come out (in time for Christmas, according to scuttlebutt).

That's a long winded way of saying I've linked in this set, and I'll give it a shot to edit the next set in a timely fashion (a week or so).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years

Typically on 9/11 I like to drop a mention of a few relevant charities - see last year's, it's still a great start. But I thought I'd also post a picture of Susie's tattoo. Susie was in the Army - actually I've worked with a couple of models who have served in the military in one capacity or another but they don't always advertise it so we'll just leave things vague.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ZZZZZzzzzzzz

Pretty lady, nice light, up 5:00am, ZZZZzzzz.....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Berkeley Set Up

The set's up. Early, I know. I'll put up the Berkeley by night set up in a week or so.

Note the construction workers in the background - generally people didn't really notice us, and we worked really fast, but her little black dress hit the pavement and their heads whipped around almost instantly.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Oops

I mostly managed to keep my shadow out of these, but not on this shot!

I got these done earlier than expected but haven't had a chance to link them to the rest of the site yet. Links are on twitter and Facebook though (links to those in the sidebar).

Mobile test two

Lake chabot with no signal. Should send eventually...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Updates

I've had a chance to take a quick look through the two Berkeley shoots and I like what I see. I'll probably post one around the end of the week (not the 11th - so if it's not up by the 10th it won't be until the 12th) and then the other the Friday after. Don't be shocked if I post it on Facebook a day or two before anywhere else as a thank you to the folks who have signed up over there.

Things are going well here. The weather's good, the fire in LA avoided relatives and the important bits of Mt. Wilson (thanks to the 4,600 firefighters working the fire) although last I saw 157,000 acres were burnt which is a bit hard to wrap my head around and it's still only 56% contained. People are throwing stats around like 2.5 million gallons of water used. I haven't seen a cost figure - they actually factor this kind of thing into the budget (There's always a fire or mudslides or something) but it still can't be pretty. Speaking of which, print sales are still low compared to last year but have perked up since the worst part of the summer. I'm just going to have to hope that there's a decent Christmas/winter season and go from there.

Oh, and the LA Times has some remarkable pictures of the fire.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ambient light

I don't know yet which ones I'll keep. I'm not sure what I think of the little bit of motion blur on the model, but I hit the shutter before she was quite in position because I wanted to capture some of the people walking by. This was on a corner, and you couldn't see me if you approached from the left, and some people rounding the corner actually got between me and the model and kind of startled when they saw me. Their reaction. "Oh, sorry! Didn't mean to block your shot!"

This is a 1/10 of a second exposure I believe.

Testing

Testing mobile blogging. This is a wet plate demo from when I was in
Santa Fe.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Post Shoot Notes: Berkeley By Night




Well, I survived another Berkeley shoot. That's Mischief Vixen who happened to be in town.

The one in color's a behind the scenes shot - you can see there's just a little flash with a tiny softbox on a lightweight light stand. I'm standing so the angle's not the same as in the final shot, and zoomed out, but it's the lighting I ended up using.

We shot with the flash in a coupe of locations and ambient light in one. The flash definitely attracts more attention than I'd like. There are some things I can do to minimize that, and I hadn't really considered how many people would be out and about late on a Friday night (especially frat boys). Almost nobody noticed, or admitted noticing me shooting early the prior morning but we definitely got some attention this time ("Can I take a picture too?")

But this is just what I was hoping for - it looks like there was just a really convenient streetlight there but no, it was pitch black. So it's artificial but it's not super obvious what's going on. In some other setups it's more clearly on-purpose lighting - we did a mix. It'll be a small set since we just did a very few locations and just a few shots at each but it was very educational and there's at least a couple of very cool shots in there that I couldn't have gotten any other way.

I'll post an ambient light shot tomorrow.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Post Shoot Notes: Berkeley by Day


That first structure is where the escalator comes up from the subway.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Calm...

I set it up so that I'd be all caught up in editing before I had my first full days with just me and the baby. Good thing too - it's going OK but I have plenty on my plate already and somehow I ended up with a ton of shoots scheduled - I think it's five in September and one or two in October, plus I'm talking to a couple of models about setting something up. It's just the way the scheduling worked out. Most of it's outdoor work which takes less time to edit - fewer shots total plus a lower percentage of keepers - in the studio I have so much control that most of the shots should at least be OK, right?. Only one's a night shoot, I'm not being super aggressive about that since it will get a little easier later in the year when it gets dark earlier. (I should maybe explain that we have an overly complicated schedule where I have the baby a lot of the normal work week but not all - so I can do early morning shoots on certain days and the usual afternoon studio shoots on certain days, etc. etc.)

Since I'm not used to having her all day we don't really have an afternoon routine down yet. Mornings got much easier after a week or two so hopefully afternoons will fall into a rhythm as well.

Other than that, trying to keep my "to do" list manageable, keeping an eye on the Station Fire (relatives still safe, although I know one gal who's pretty close to the active area. Mt. Wilson seems like it's not immediately threatened but not safe either - one shift in the wind and things can change fast.) There's fires all over, too, so everything's spread pretty thin - I know the Auburn fire has wiped out a bunch of houses - lovely area, too. I'm still finding twitter the best place for updates oddly enough.

Anyway, I have shoots Thursday and Friday this week so I'll have at least some shots up then...
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