Saturday, September 30, 2006

There be Daisies in those fields...

Okay, so that doesn't really make any sense, but I thought it was funny! Today was Desirae's first meeting for the Girl Scouts and she became a Daisy today. There was a bridging ceremony for all the girls similar to the one Devin went to a few months ago. Desirae was VERY excited about this today and has been looking forward to it all week. Her group was the first one to go once the meeting started. There was actually quite a few people there too. I was kind of surprised about that. They had the meeting at the cafeteria in the school (means terrible lighting) but my SpeedLite worked pretty good in there.

Bella is also in the same group so Desirae and her ran around like wild ones throughout the meeting. They both were very excited about the meeting and going through the bridge. As soon as we arrived Desirae and Bella were basically inseparable which was kind of fun to watch.

From there we drove into Bakersfield to make a trip to Camping World. I was hoping to find some plastic containers when we got there but they were sold out. Denise didn't really realize what I was looking for and once we left basically said it would have been easier to get them at either K-Mart or Wal-Mart. Oh well, I should have just asked her about that in the first place.

We also stopped off for some Mexican food while we were in town. Everyone, except Denise, liked their food. Because of the 1 May 06 thing we do not visit our local Mexican restaurants anymore. They were closed in support of illegal immigration and I just can't get over that. They are supposed to be building a new restaurant in town soon(ish) so maybe we can revisit that then. So far though I kind of like the fact we don't do it much because it makes the food seem better when we do go.

Friday, September 29, 2006

More scouting...

This evening was Devin's second scouting meeting. There was a bit of confusion because the den leader was planning on doing some physical stuff - but changed the program because he wasn't really sure how to deal with Devin on them. He has a call into the pack leader to see how specifically they are supposed to deal with this situation. I was glad that he changed up the program for tonight because I was concerned that Devin would get REALLY discouraged about that right off the bat. So we will have to see how this is going to work out.

Afterward Devin wanted to play at the park with some of the other boys for a little bit before we headed to McDonnald's for dinner. He seem to have a good time!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Once there was this fire...

that made the sun red as blood... Now if I could actually write I could really turn that into something... But I can't so I wont'... Anyway this "Day" fire (I think they are calling it) is really making a mess of things around here. Today the weather shifted and it blew the smoke our way. It did make for one heck of a cloud in the sky and the sun was very ominous. I think I did capture a pretty neat image of it before the sun went down.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Heritage Days Festival

We went to the last day of the California City Heritage Days Festival! According to the one vender we bought something from when asked if yesterday (Saturday) was better he said, "Is worser a word?" He did have some pretty neat stuff which was prints and film footage from different movies. They did actually look pretty neat and since the turn out was SOOOO bad and he wanted to sell SOMETHING he gave reduced his prices. So Denise bought three things from him. I will have to see if I can scan then them in or something really show it. Anyway, the pictures from the event are located here!

From there we walked around the event and checked out what was available. There were some good venders with neat stuff but I think the general thought is that no one was coming back - it just wasn't worth their time and effort. The only bad thing about this little adventure was the fact the kids were horrible in the way they were acting.

We ended with playing at the playground area of the park. Desirae was having a pretty good time running around like a mad-girl. We did that for a while until Devin decided he didn't want to be there anymore and we finally just loaded up and went home...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More pictures...

Well I didn't take any pictures today so I went with another image from the Santa Monica trip. This one was pretty nice and to me it just feels relaxing. Considering our day today - I need relaxing!

We drove into Bakersfield today to get our trailer. After stopping for lunch and then buying a replacement microwave we headed over to the shop to pick up the trailer. They were closed today but they left the trailer outside the gate so we could hook it up and leave. Everything looked good, from the outside... However it appears as though they damaged it on the inside pop-out. I am not really sure what happened but the cabinet starts to separate from the roof when the pop-out is in - but looks okay when it is out. We tried to call someone from Stier;s RV but they were of little help. Basically they said we could make an appointment to bring it back - or leave it there and hope for the best... Ultimately we decided to just bring it back home. Oh well...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Editing Noah...

I finally sat down and finished going through the skateboard images. The lighting was really tuff and I was trying to keep him in the column of light - I think the above one was the best with the shadow. I wish I could have nailed more shots - but this work is pretty nice. The gallery of the selects is here!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Okay I bet that surprised you! I was playing with my camera today at work and set it up for B&W mode. Not sure why I would do that but after talking with Kris about testing this mode I decided to give it a try. So that is my happy mug looking down at the world.

One of the folks in the office received flowers from her hubby so I grab the flowers and took some shots of them. Not exactly what I should be doing at work, and considering I am the boss it probably didn't really set a good example. But heck I thought they looked neat and I wanted to get a couple of shots of them. Besides I thought she might like some close up shots - I mean most people don't get to capture their flowers like that do they?

I used that 105 macro to get the flower shot - I REALLY like that lens and am VERY glad that I purchased it.

OBTW - Shutterstock accepted all 11 images I uploaded of Devin! Pretty nice to have a 100% accepted batch!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Eye check...

So I went in for my eye appointment today to check on those floaters and such. The good news? My eyes appear fine and they did not see any problems with them. They also could not find anything that I should have seen as floaters and my description of tracers did not see to corollate with anything either. So it's either a brain tumor or stress. Okay - that was my little addition there. It does appear as though it is probably stress related. Anyway the part that REALLY was bad is when they put those neat little drops in my eyes my ability to focus my eyes completely went away. I couldn't focus on ANYTHING. They did give me the reversal drops but the entire way home I could read anything. It was VERY irritating and something I did not like. The one funny part about this is when I got home I pulled out my old glasses (from 1986 I think) and I was able to see out of my left eye then... Go figure. Everything is almost back to normal now.

Oh - I did get my first large file sale from iStock Photo. It was the kiddy pool picture that is selling so well on ShutterStock. So I made a whole $1 on this one. It was neat to see the "large" increase in total sales and to see that someone bought a large image. My guess is that it will be used in a bigger (physical size wise) ad campaign.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Keep him medicated...

I am not sure if I mentioned this, but Denise switched doctors for the kids. The first thing that came out of it was that the new doctor did not have a very positive opinion of the kids previous doctor. He was also very concerned about the medications that Devin was on and immediately stopped two of them. He was also concerned with the way the previous doctor was treating Deanna and her diagnosis of asthma. I am not sure what all this is going to mean but right now it is nice to have someone that appears more proactive with the treatment of the kids.

On another note this first major writing assignment is kicking my butt. I am finding it extremely difficult to stay focused on the project and get the first draft of the darn thing done. I need to get it finalized and uploaded. I HOPE to reach that goal tonight - but considering it is already 2230 I am not sure if I am going to reach that goal... Oh well...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Is it bed time yet?

Honestly I am not tired… For some reason I do not find that very convincing. The one thing I do believe is that the seamless paper is going to REALLY help out! I set up the LRS to try out the new paper and see how the lighting was going to work out. The background was still a bit uneven but it was smooth enough that it was easy to compensate for in Photoshop. Once we get the other light I think everything will fall into place. This was basically just a test shoot but I came away with a bunch of good images and a few that may work for stock. We should get confirmation on the Bee sometime tomorrow.

Oh – there was one other thing. I was looking to setup a new domain and web site and I inadvertently purchased 2 years of web hosting for So, I have a domain name and a business name “Ellison Imaging”. The only bad thing was the 2 year upfront cost for the site. Opps… Oh there is nothing there yet – I still have to figure out what I am going to do with that… I will probably just using iWeb to setup the site – or maybe RapidWeaver.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Boondoggle central...

Today was like boondoggle central! I think I mentioned that I was tentatively planning on going on a photo hunt with Kris and Todd today. With the way last week was going I wasn’t really looking forward to it nor did I really want to go. However I know that if I can force myself to get off my butt and go it will be REALLY fun. That is exactly how today turned out. We got together around 1300 and headed down below to hit some camera stores and try to do some shooting.

Our first stop was to head to Canoga Camera – I wanted to get some 107” seamless roll of paper which I got. From there we loaded everything back up in the van, I took the van to hold the paper, and started headed toward the next store. About half way there we decided to divert from shopping. We were not really sure where we wanted to go and after much discussion we decided to head down to the beach to take some shots there. So we ended up driving down Santa Monica Blvd and parked in a garage a block up from the ocean and headed out on foot. We started out walking through the streets and such just checking out everything that was going on.

It was pretty neat because I have never been to that location and honestly I would have never thought I would have gone (especially considering I drove). But it was really pretty neat. The drive down wasn’t too bad and I didn’t stress too much. The walking around was really neat and just seeing the different area (photo ops) was very nice.

I even (finally) asked my first stranger if I could take their picture – it was this guy on a skate board. I took quite a few picture and once I can get in a edit a few I will know if I got anything really good. The lighting wasn’t great – I didn’t notice the bright spot in the shot so they were kind of dark. But I was glad that I finally saw someone that I thought would be interesting to photograph and actually approached him and asked.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Unexpected mail

Today in the mail we had something from Rally GMC/Chevolet. It turns out that (I guess) I owed less or something on the Murano when I traded it in on the truck and they sent us a nice check in the mail. You know you generally expect to see bills or something not a check. It was pretty good timing and will help out - extra money is always nice.

Denise and I talked earlier and we went ahead and ordered another Alien Bee AB800. They approved my "educational" discount since I am a student so that saved us 10% - that was pretty cool. So we probably won't have it until next week at the earliest - but at least I have more power (light) on it's way. I will probably also pick up some of that seamless paper and see if that helps. I was talking with one of the guys from work and they seem to think that it might help.

Either way I have some type of road trip planned for some time tomorrow. Hmm - that's pretty firm... Anyway Kris, Todd, and I are going to connect tomorrow and make some pictures... Now I just need to figure out how to get a 9' box home...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Try something different...

I decided to try something before going out and buying more gear. I lit this with one Alien Bee AB800 for the background and used my SB800 to light the face (on camera, you can see the annoying shadow). I did still have to do some retouching in photoshop because the light was uneven on the left of the frame - but it wasn't too bad.

Well I think Denise and I are both convinced that we need another Alien Bee to really make this white background stuff work. I should be able to use my Nikon SB800 and reflector to light the subject but we need more light to blow out the background correctly. The whole experience has been incredibly frustrating. The only good point about today is everyone was feel much better toward the end of the day - probably with the exception of me because of this stuff.

Where does the time go???

It sure seems that the days sure go by much FASTER lately. I mean it is already Thursday and my last posting was on Monday. If I wasn't writing this in the morning I am not sure if I would get anything posted until this weekend. I think with everything going on (work, home, school, sick kids, etc) the stress level is just increasing. I am taking this today off to help around the house - and maybe everything can get back on track - under the circumstances anyway.

The image of Deanna is from the batch of REJECTION I had from Shutterstock. I think they were a cute series of photos but I didn't think they would make it. My lighting was off and the background looked grey instead of white. Plus in this particular photograph you can see Denise's shirt in the upper right portion of image. Oh well - all of this is a work in progress anyway - so make notes and adjust as appropriate.

OBTW - They did take the rusty screw picture...

Monday, September 11, 2006

More shots...

Well, this evening shoot started out as a concept shoot to get an image of Deanna with a post-it note on her foot, bottom, head, whatever but for some reason the lighting just wasn't right and the most of the shots didn't work. There were a couple that might have worked but Denise was behind the backdrop with a brightly colored tidied shirt that bled through the background... Oh well... We will have to try again. I am also have problems with the lighting on the background - I really need more lights to really do the white background thing correctly and trying to fix it in photoshop is a MAJOR pain. Before we photographed Deanna, Desirae was a stand-in model so I could get the lighting correct - the shot above turned out pretty good and I submitted it for stock - I will have to see how that turns out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Foto boondoggle...

So I did get a chance to get out of the house on Sunday. I wasn't really sure if I was going to be able to go but everything worked out today. I called Kris in the morning to see if he was up to it and he was. I loaded up my stuff and met him at his house. I did not have any plan on where to go or what to do and since he is more familiar with the area I just went along for the ride. We ended up hitting places that I didn't even know existed. I saw a castle in the middle of nowhere - we didn't take any pictures because there were no trespassing signs all over the place and as soon as we did stop people came out and ran us off. Then we went to "Devil's Punchbowl" and took a few shots there. From there we went to the Abby and walked around and took some photos there. To top it off we went to "Camp Ed" which is a movie set place. We didn't get to see too much because they were filming a "hip-hop" music video - so we left. I did get the screw picture just down the road from there though.

All in all it was GREAT to get a chance to get out of the house and take some pictures. I haven't done that type of thing since probably Spain with Rick Cunningham. It is definitely something we need to do more often. It is too bad that we weren't able to go out yesterday because we would have met up with Todd (another friend from work) but it didn't work out. This was good though!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lego Star Wars

Devin wanted me to take some pictures of his Lego Star Wars ships that he and I built last week. At first he wanted to help me but once we started talking about it he wanted me to just do it - while he played video games. Kind of funny actually. Anyway once Denise got home and we finished dinner I went ahead and gave it a try. The shots didn't turn out the way I expected them to - but they did turn out okay.

Denise went into town today with Jennifer (Gabby's mom) and I stayed home with Devin and Desirae (Denise took Deanna). I think we had a pretty good time and in looking back at the day we got more accomplished than I really expected. We played board games (Desirae and I did anyway), I told them stupid stories, we went to lunch, cleaned up around the house, played computer games (Devin - xBox, Desirae - Mac) and even crashed (well Desirae and I did). Anyway - wasn't really what I was expecting to do on Saturday - but it was pretty cool!

Friday, September 08, 2006

This week is over...

I can honestly say I am VERY glad that this work week is over. Things occurred that I can not really discuss in this forum but I will just say it has been a very stressful week and I am glad that it is over!

Tomorrow Denise is going into town with Jennifer and I will stay home with Devin and Desirae. It should be fun and we have a couple of things tentatively planned to do around the house. I was able to finish all my homework today so I shouldn't have to spend any time with that in the morning - otherwise I would have been finishing that up before the 1200 deadline.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tire catastrophe...

So I get this call from Caleb at 0830 this morning on the NEXTEL saying he has a little problem and needs some help. His NEW tire blew out on the way to work. I am not sure if you all remember from previous posts but he lives over an hour from work and there really isn’t much between work and his house. So after the morning meeting I jumped in the truck and started heading in his direction. The worst part about this is his kids had taken the jack and tools out of the truck to work on the quads so he had NOTHING to change the tire. The really bad part is that the tools for my GMC were the wrong size and he couldn’t get the lug nuts off with it. In the end we called AAA and had to wait for the wrecker to come out and change the tire. Talk about feeling pretty stupid – three guys (Rob rode out with me) watching the AAA guy change a tire.

All I know is I wouldn’t want to be Caleb’s boys when he finally gets home!!!

Oh - and he was REAL happy that I brought my camera! :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More LRS

We decided to take some more shots tonight and at first we tried to make some shots of Deanna - that was a bust and Devin was up for it so we put him in the spot and took a few shots. He was going through all range of emotions - but he was a real trooper and was laughing more than he was "acting" upset! I am not sure if my editing is good enough - but I think I might try to stock these shots.

On a more somber note someone tried to steal one of the little girls from school today as she was walking home. When I got home today the kids were trying to tell me about it but I couldn't really understand what they were saying. As it turns out this little girl was walking home from school today and a white male with blonde hair tried to grab her and lurer her into his white van with a puppy. Fortunately the little girl fought the guy off and was able to run and get help. The guy got away and the police are currently looking for the guy. We spent some time this evening going over the don't talk to strangers and a bit of roll playing to get the kids to really think about the situation. It just sucks that this happened and we have to go down this route. Though I am glad that nothing really happened.

Monday, September 04, 2006

End of the long weekend...

Well, this long weekend is at a close and it has been a really odd weekend. Do you ever have those times when you have something planned out in your mind and it just doesn’t go the way you thought or hoped it would go? For me that was kind of this weekend so in many respects I am glad that it is over and I am actually looking forward to going back to work. I wouldn’t say it was a "bad" weekend, things just didn't happen they way I thought they would.

I did take some photographs this weekend so I should be happy with that though – and I think they turned out pretty good. I made this joke poster for work – hopefully it will be funny and everyone will get a good laugh at it. It came about because someone said that Kris was ObWon or something like that with his knowledge of the switch (force).

The stock photography thing continues to grow and we are at 13 images sold for Sept. If the numbers continue it should be a good showing for the month of Sept - though I don't think we will reach a pay-out this month. Maybe if we can get some more shoots under our belts - but this weekend was a complete stock wash...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Another Sunday...

Today was a pretty lazy day with no too much being accomplished. The weather was pretty darn hot and we stayed in the house, except for a brief trip into Mojave to eat and to go to the grocery store. The big event for the day was Devin and I putting together his new Star Wars lego ship. I should have taken a picture of that but didn't think about it until just now. I did take the picture above of Desirae to play with that new lens in more of a portrait mode. I had tried to do something with Devin but he was in the middle of playing XBox and didn't want to stop. I then tried Deanna, because she sat in the middle of the "set" but she was too fast of a moving target. Then Desirae took up her spot and she did VERY well!

Oh when we went to the grocery store they had one of those change counting machines that will give out iTunes certificates (among other things) so I dumped our change dish in there to check it out. $38 later I had my little printout in hand. That was pretty cool - I suppose I should have just turned it into cash but they take almost $.09 for every dollar. Now we have to find some music to buy on iTunes!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Boondoggle down below...

I took this picture on the way back from our boondoggle overlooking the Antelope Valley (Palmdale in particular). The sight that really caught our attention was the rainbow in the the right portion of the frame. It was weird because it wasn't raining or anything. I was able to stop at the vista point and grab some photographs before it faded away.

The main purpose of the trip was to go to the Lego store at the Glendale Galleria Mall. Devin had been looking forward to this for the whole week and was VERY excited to head on down there. It was not as much sensory overload as I though they (Devin and Desirae) would have, but they did seem to enjoy it. He bought a ship, that we will build tomorrow, and a Star Wars minifigure keychain.

I also had the chance to make my way to the Apple store (next door) and pick up one of those wireless bluetooth mighty mouse. Since I bought the MacBook with me I had to chance to use it in the car and when we stopped for dinner and I was VERY impressed. It is really going to be nice when I am held up in a corner of the house doing homework and such.

We also went by Canoga Camera to check out their smaller 5 in 1 reflectors. Before going I had called to see if they had any Nikkor macro lenses in and they said NO. However when I walked in the door Derek said, "Hey I found one in our used shelf" so after a while of testing it out and comparing it with different lenses I went ahead and bought it. He also dropped the price a bit to entice me to buy. It is last years model and used but considering the new model (if you can find one) is $850 and the old one new is $659 I think $349 was a pretty good deal! Besides I wouldn't have been able to take the Lego picture above without it!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The week is at an end...

Well for some reason I find it more and more difficult to update the blog on a more recurring basis. I think this is the result of going back to work, the kids starting school, the stock photography, and my going back to school. I will try to get back in the grove of things so please bear with me! I took today day off, it was a "liberal leave" day at work so I figured I would stay home. We did not accomplish much of the things I had hoped but I did get the opportunity to meet Desirae at the bus when she came home. That was pretty cool - and to continue with the bus problems they were about 10 minutes late today. Go figure.

Oh - some of you may be contacted by the kids about school fundraisers. I have ALWAYS hated those things and have bad memories of them when I was a kid. But today, Devin came home literally in tears because he KNEW we were not going to do anything and he was going to be the ONLY one that doesn't get anything when the do the end of results thing when the fund raiser is over. I still hate thing damn things but in retrospect it really isn't fair (I know life isn't fair, but oh well) to ruin something like that for the kids.

The stock photography thing does seem to be going well. After posting my first pictures on on July 24 (iStock) and mid August for Shutter stock I have sold 31 images, of the 33 different ones posted and made a whopping $8.45 between the 2. Considering it is taking FOREVER to get images on those sites and most of my activity was toward the end of August I am pretty happy with the results so far.