Tuesday, November 28, 2006

She's everywhere...

Well, we don't know why, but Deanna is climbing on everything. If we take our eyes off her for a second she is into something that she shouldn't be. This is very odd for us because neither of the other kids ever did anything like this. We are not really sure why - the only thing we can come up with is that she has Devin and Desirae as role models whereas Desirae only had Devin and at that age Devin wasn't very mobile. Either way I think we are both getting more gray hairs now because of it. So far she has only fallen off a chair once, and hasn't fallen off the table yet...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hair cut and climbing

Denise cut Devin's hair the other day and since we had the studio gear setup we just did it there in the studio. Most of the shots were not really usable for stock but I kind of like this one. The focus isn't on Denise, but on the scissors but I thought itw as kind of cool. Denise is getting really good at cutting hair.

I had hoped to take some shots tonight but it just wasn't in the cards. Way too much going on and trying to set something up was just unrealistic. It is amazing how difficult it is to try and organize things with three kids running around. Speaking of that - Deanna has taken up climbing on EVERYTHING! Today Denise said she came into the dining room and Deanna had climbed her way upon the table. She was just sitting there in the middle of the table pouring the salt and pepper all over the table... We are not sure what we are going to do with this - but it is getting very stressful because if you aren't watching her every second she ends up someplace you don't really want her... Sorry there are no pictures - I think Denise was busy trying to restart her heart!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The park

We went into Lancaster today to return the phone we bought yesterday in Ridgecrest. It was a PILE and neither of us could hear very well with it. We ended up meeting Kris and Gail for lunch (which was pretty nice) and then went to the park to let the kids play around. I had some ideas for some shots I wanted to get - and I didn't get any of them - however I did get a couple of everyone going through the leaves. The only bad thing about today was how cold it was. The problem is just trying to watch all of the kids and setup a shot. Probably had there been less people there I would have tried it - but as it was it was VERY difficult to keep our eyes on all of the kids.

Oh - and I have finally gotten off my bum and have aggressively re-attacked the stock thing. I have about 32 new images sitting in the queues at various sites (two already approved them) and a few good ideas on the board to hopefully try to grab throughout the week (at least the studio ones). The big test is going to be on ShutterStock and iStock because they are a bit more selective in what they accept.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanks-Giving Weekend

This has been a pretty long week and just as long of a weekend! Today we had a chance to get out of the house and do some exploring. We did have the SMART idea of running around out in the desert and when we finally stopped to do some walking around we nearly froze. Between the wind and the temperature drop (the sun was going down) it was REALLY cold!

Yesterday we set up the studio and went through a couple of concept shots that I have been thinking about. I think they turned out pretty good and I have about 27 images waiting for review right now at the various sites I am listed on. On this particular shot I was trying to capture someone on the phone trying to get someone to be quite. I did want to expand upon the idea with another person but I wasn't able to figure out how to really control the camera remotely to pull that one off.

I did happen to figure out how to use the interval meter (I think that is what it is called) on my D200 to make a serious of captures of myself. I think this MIGHT be the way to stage a shot with Denise as the primary focus with me in the background. Like I said before I didn't get a chance to test that out but I think with a bit of planning it would work out. I did have a shot where I wasn't so grumpy - but I figured this shot was funnier.

For some reason I didn't take any pictures on Thanks-Giving. I am not really sure what the deal was with that but we did have a pretty good time though. We did not have anyone over, and I think this was the first year that we didn't have people over in a long time.

Oh - and for some reason Deanna just WOULD NOT go to sleep last night. Denise and I were ready to check in early yesterday but Deanna didn't agree until 0100 this morning. VERY frustrating!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A day with Laurin...

Today was the day I had the chance to meet Laurin Rinder for lunch. I am not sure if I mentioned this before, but he is putting on a free seminar for stock photography toward the end of February that I was lucky enough to make the list for. He is also a professional photographer who has been shooting for many years. With that I had asked if we could meet before the February event and he agreed! So today I drove down to West Hollywood for lunch. I wasn’t not really sure how it would go but he is a VERY nice person and we chatted much longer than we probably should have (it turned out to be about 4 hours). It was really wonderful to have a chance to talk to a real-life working pro who has also embraced the micro-stock method of marketing images. I pretty much left our meeting with my head spinning and it is probably going to take a few days to truly digest all the things we talked about and the suggestions that he offered. The biggest one was to get off my butt and start shoot! Hmmm – I know I was forgetting something, put the eye to the viewfinder, compose something interesting, check the exposure, and press the button! Okay, he didn’t really say it like that, but the point was crystal clear. Realistically though he did go over some really great information and although it is something that I should have already known sometimes you just have to have someone tell you to really drive it in! I also realized that I have been other thinking some of my shots, meaning that when he was looking at my folder of prints he kept asking “why haven’t you posted this” and I would come up with some lame reason why I hadn’t posted it and he would just give me that look. So I need to take a step back and not try to over think this thing. Anyway I had a really great time and I was amazed at home much time he gave me. Actually I hadn’t realized just how long it had been until he left and I checked my clock (phone). I hope I can get a chance to meet with him again and I would LOVE the opportunity to watch him work… However, right now I need to go out and create some of my own images!

But - it is REALLY late and after spending so much time on the road today I am going to call it quits! Still, it was a pretty amazing day! I will probably post some of my walk around imagines - besides the one above tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Devin's Appointment

We drove to Bakersfield today for Devin to see the orthopedist today. I am not sure how happy I was with the appointment, but it was good to get another perspective on his progress. As it turns out he is worried that the braces are breaking down his feet and without a different type of brace or surgery the damage could get worse to his feet. This is a bit different that the information we received from Children's Hospital and I am not sure what we are going to do. I think I would like to go back down below and see what they have to say before we decide on anything.

As seems to be the case these days Desirae was a complete monster for pretty much the majority of the day. I am not sure what is really going on there - maybe it is just that her brother is getting all of the attention but it is really getting frustrating.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Nana worked with Devin tonight on his reading. Actually it seemed like everyone was doing homework this evening. I was trapped in the office working on my paper and they were in the other room going over his reading assignment. Denise and Deisrae were at the Daisy meeting so everyone was pretty busy. So on that note this is going to be a quick entry!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Work portrait...

My boss (Deputy Commander of the Comm Squadron), who I found out today used to be into photography big time, wanted to see my Nikon D200 so I went ahead and brought it in today. It turns out that he too is an old Nikon shooter and wanted to see what the new digital Nikon SLRs were all about. In playing around I snapped a couple of photographs of him and you know me, I can't help myself, I had to process the shot and post it on the blog. You know the only thing that gets me smiling at work is talking about cameras.

On another positive note Nana came down unexpectedly and is going to be here a couple of days. She was sitting out front when I got here (she didn't have the right key to get in). She came down to have some work done on her sewing machine from the store she bought it at (in Palmdale). Anyway I didn't get a chance to get any pictures of her and the kids - but I will definitely do that tomorrow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Santa Monica Beach

We decided yesterday to get up early and get moving! So we did and headed out toward Los Angeles. Denise wanted to run by the Lego store and from there we figured we would head to Pacific Coast Highway and find some beach to sit upon. Other than we got a bit lost driving through Los Angeles (again) we made pretty good time and arrived at the beach maybe a hour before the sun went down. It was a LONG walk across the beach to get to the ocean but everyone made it, including Deanna, and EVERYONE was VERY excited to be there. All the kids were pinging pretty good and bouncing around. We had to move back a couple of times because the tide was coming in and encroaching on our designated spot. Both Devin and Desirae ended up getting overtaken by the waves. The weather was pretty nice and the water wasn't too cold so no one was worse for wear.

Once we moved back from the water everyone started looking for shells and rocks within the sand. Devin REALLY got into this and was searching every inch of sand he could. Meanwhile Desirae was bouncing around like she was going 100 mph. Once the sun started setting we started walking back to the car though everyone stopped to watch the sun finally go down. From there the temperature started dropping rather quickly so we made short time to get back to the van, change clothes, and get back on the road.

Getting back on the road was a bit more complicated than we expected. First we could not get across the road on PCH so we ended up going backward, up over the bluff, and then back down. The next problem was we took Topanga Canyon road, which I am sure is a nice road during the day, back and it was DARK DARK DARK. Not run to drive an unfamiliar road in the dark. That wasn't too bad though once we dropped back into town and in more familiar surroundings.

All it all it was a pretty neat time and a fun day! On the way back it only took us a bit over two hours to get home, so it really isn't too far to go for a day trip. You can find more pictures here!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Street Studio

I had some ideas for a shoot of Devin with his canes walking down the asphalt. It was toward the end of the day so while he was getting ready I had Desirae stand in for lighting and composition checks. I did have a bit of a problem with camera shake as the shutter speeds were slow, though I didn't think they were that slow for the amount of sharpness problems I had. Anyway the above picture is what I was going for. The picture of Desirae is where she was standing in and just being silly. I also captured this shot of Denise. Although she doesn't like the shot - I think it turned out very nice!

Attach of the bunny poop...

Okay, so this is VERY gross! The rabbits are definitely winning now. There is so much poop on the grass that we do not really know what to do. Today we tried to blow it out of the yard and so far that has worked better than all the previous methods. We still can't seem to keep them out of the yard though...

I also picked up a replacement flash diffuser and Desirae was nice enough to model for me while I was trying it out. I think it works pretty good but I am going to have to play with it a bit more. It also came with a DVD so I will check that out later to see if I am missing anything.

OBTW - In a weird twist of faith I have been wanting to connect with one of the local (Beverly Hills) photographers that shoots professionally and for stock. He recently met up with another individual from one of the stock sites I shoot for and gave him a one-on-one training session. Anyway he hosting a free seminar for stock photographers and I got in on the 30 open spaces for this event in February. It grew way more than he expected and he has obtain the help from another photographer so it is broke up between 2 days. One day will be a full day of shooting models in a professional studio in Irvine with a hair and makeup artist. The other day will be a full day of shooting at Venice beach. Of the 30 people there are a few coming from Europe, Canada, and all over the US. Looks like it is going to be an intense few days. The details are still rolling in but it sounds like it is going to be awesome.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Strike two for sick...

So Devin comes barreling out of his room into the bathroom after his bath. I walk in to ask him what is wrong when he says that he thinks he is going to throw up. I tell him to go to the toilet and as I am telling him to raise the lid he pukes all over the bathroom. On the toilet, bathtub, floor, pretty much everywhere… Now THAT is what I call FUUUUNNNN! And I though it was just me having problems this week.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Todd's new blog...

One of my photo buddies from work started a new blog this last week or so. It is called Free to Focus, pretty catchy name if you ask me! Anyway it looks like it is going to be a photo blog and it appears as though my stupid mug will show up from time to time. If you surf over there you can see a shot of me photographing Noah Karp on the stake board. In that thought of cross sharing photographs here is an image I took of him today during an awards ceremony luncheon. I know this is going to sound goofy but the lighting and framing was really neat and I thought it would make a good photo.

I had hopped to grab some shots of our nominee for the technician trades and labor category but I arrived late and I was sitting at the opposite end of the table. Our guy did win though so that was pretty exciting especially since there were three other people up for the award. So it looks like we wrote a pretty good package on him!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not so quick Vegas trip...

Denise's brother Gene, his wife Cindy, and Cindy's brother John took a vacation to Las Vegas this weekend and we drove up to meet them for dinner. The trip was longer than expected (I thought it took less time to get there) and we ended up leaving late on Saturday. Originally we were thinking about just going up for the day and driving back - but the timing just wasn't right. Denise was smart enough to think about getting a place to stay just outside of Vegas. Anyway it was great to see everyone again and Denise was VERY happy to see her brother again. It was a great time and we have a VERY nice dinner. OBTW - Gene was working it for the camera!

Oh - while walking through the hotel we found Devin's idol so we stopped for a quick snapshot. Devin was pretty excited about it. It is just nice to know Devin wants to be Darth Vader when he grows up. That or the Emperor... Ah to be young and have goals and aspirations!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Crash and burn....

I am totally screwed on this weeks' assignment for school. With being under the weather, having to work late, the conference I am completely behind the power curve. Well, I think back to a comment I made earlier today where I said (in talking about keeping of people) "We are on the Titanic, all the lifeboats are gone and another body (employee) isn't going to stop the sinking. Right now I need to look for a good spot to listen to the orchestra." So, what is the best way to deal with the stress? Photoshop baby! This is a technique I learned yesterday. I did my own little variation but I thought it looked pretty neat! So, relax, find a nice seat, and enjoy the music!

Phtoshop Seminar...

Man, I just don't know how to describe my experience yesterday at the Los Angeles at the Photoshop CS2 Power Tours seminar. Scott Kelby was the instructor (the one in the crappy camera phone picture) who writes a lot of the Photoshop books that I have purchased. My expectations were low - meaning I figured he would go over a lot of the stuff I already knew - but within the first couple of minutes here was going over things I have never heard of or even thought of before. Anyway it was a VERY long day but Tom and I had an AWESOME time!