Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Wow - so another year has come and gone! This was a pretty good year with the kids getting older, us starting our camping adventures, Devin really starting to walk more, Desirae starting school, and Deanna really turning into a little person with a personality all her own. We have the whole commercial photography that I started doing and the completion of the project from hell (well - we haven't officially been told it is over). I think 2007 is going to be an amazing year with new event developing that we can't even imagine just yet! I have very high hopes for 2007 and I hope all of you have the same!

And have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Side trip to park...

Today I went on a boondoggle down to Canoga to get some printer supplies. I am almost out of ink and I wanted to get some larger format paper for larger prints. I asked Devin he wanted to go but he back out when he found out it was an LA trip. For some reason a Bakersfield trip would have been okay - but not an LA trip (go figure). So I then asked Desirae and she immediately said that she wanted to go. On the way down there she saw a park and asked if we could stop there on the way back. So after we finished at Canoga Camera we made about an hour long stop at the park just down the road. It was a pretty good time and she even made friends with some of the kids playing there.

The one weird thing is how people will not watch their kids. The girls that Desirae was playing with were pretty much by themselves even though they were there with their brother. I never once saw anyone watching the girls and they were all over the place. At one point Desirae ran away from me to the other side of the playground an it was very scary to loose sight of her. I could not imagine going someplace like that and just ignoring her... Kind of weird...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tired and frustration...

When you look at the photograph above just think, "If you click that shutter one more time I am going to kill you", and you will pretty much capture the moment. This pretty much captures the moment for both of us today. Realistically it should have been a pretty good day today. We did a photo shoot this morning that I thought was going to turn out pretty good. However it wasn't meant to be! The first round had bad focus problems (I manually set focus and didn't change it - and I set it wrong). Next my white balance was all out of whack that just sent everything spiraling downward. I should have just trashed the entire shoot but I decided to spend the hour or so editing, keywording, and uploading to just have everything rejected. It needed to be rejected - but it was still kind of disappointing. I think sometimes you really just have to realize when you have blown it and just start over. The concept was good - the execution was just off.

Denise did get away today and went into town by herself. The kids were pretty good (for the most part).

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Well, my last photo shoot has followed pretty much with the way I have been feeling this last week. Typical work stuff and just not being that inspired to make photographs. I think the weather has a lot to do with it and the logistics have been killing me. Plus there was a whole debacle at work that was incredibly frustrating! I have some ideas for some stuff tomorrow so hopefully the day will start off good and I can get some work done! I think Denise is going into town for a break tomorrow so maybe I can figure something out with the kids... Those seem to be my better shots anyway.

For the most part though things are going pretty good and I just need to stay focused. This has been my best month every for all of the stock houses and if I lowered my ShutterStock pay out amount I would get paid from them - but I think I am going to leave it where it is at.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day...

I have a bunch of pictures and stuff to go through - but I thought this was the most fun for today. Desirae got a bike for Christmas and Denise was helping her to ride it. By the end of the day Desirae was going pretty good and fast. She is staying in the driveway for now (on her own) but it was really cool!

Okay so I still haven't had a chance to do anything with pictures but I thought I would write some more just the same. Christmas was pretty darn good. Oh there were the typical kid frustrations that we had to deal with but all in all in was a very enjoyable time. I think everyone received what they were hoping for (I didn't really want a Bose Sound Dock anyway). The best part is always watching the excitement on the kids' face and even Deanna got into it this time. I did end up getting Denise a new camera (imagine that) but I switched camps and bought her a Canon. The above video was actually shot on it - so it looks like it does pictures and video pretty darn well.

Denise even pre-planned breakfast so it was pretty much made the night before and by the time the presents were unwrapped it was done baking. Dinner was great too! So - Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you had a wonderful day and was able to share it with someone you love!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Getting behind...

Man, I sure am getting behind on the blog and editing photographs. I have yet to even import the images from Devin's holiday program. I need to do that I just haven't got the compact flash in the Mac yet. We did do a photo shoot today of Denise loading Deanna into the car seat. If anyone is familiar with our house they will notice how odd it is that the garage door is over Denise's shoulder. I moved the van into that position to get the setting sunlight in the car and to have a clean background (at least with the garage door closed it was clean). I did end up using my flash fired remotely to evenly illuminate the van. Anyway they must have outsourced the image review process to India or something because the images were reviewed and posted within an hour. Oh - and this was completely staged - we just loaded and unloaded Deanna a couple of times and went back inside - it was cold! The other funny thing is there are only like 28 "baby car seat" pictures for sale - so I have high hopes for this one...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Desirae's Holiday Program

Today was VERY busy with holiday programs and Desirae's was the first. I will write about Devin's probably tomorrow when I have some time to load and process the images. Desirae's program was pretty nice and the room was packed! I don't remember it being that full when Devin did his a couple of years ago. It was hard to find good spots to take pictures. Desirae seemed to really enjoy it and had a lot of fun. Jayde even brought Devin over so he could watch his sister sing - we thought that was pretty cool. Upon finishing the kids went back to their classroom for cookies so we followed Desirae back and hung out there for a few until she was cleared to leave. You can see from the picture at the right that Desirae completely ignores her daddy and his camera - but the other kids are mesmerized by it. Unfortunately I had to go to work so I didn't get to stay home.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Messy Baby

Denise made spaghetti for dinner and Deanna thought it was a good idea to feed herself. It was pretty entertaining especially considering she probably wore more than she actually ate. Being the goober that I am I grab one of the strobes and umbrellas and started shooting. Deanna was having fun with the strobe going off and I got a bunch of good shots.

Tomorrow is the school "holiday" programs for both Desirae and Devin. Desirae's is in the morning and Devin is in the evening. I went ahead and took tomorrow morning off so I could go to the morning program. Hopefully I can get some good shots. I suppose we should start shooting video again - but I just can't get into the video thing. Besides pictures are something you can show people as prints as work - videos are just a pain.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Early Christmas...

Nana and Max came down for the kids early Christmas because they will not be able to get here on the actual day. So, once again, they made the long trek down from Livermore for a weekend trip. Devin and Desirae were very excited to see them even despite the idea of potential presents!

I honestly believe the best part of Christmas is watching the kids and their reaction to everything going on around them. Both Devin and Desirae were VERY excited about opening presents and even Deanna was getting into it, although I do not really think she understood what was going on.

Devin has already played his new Xbox (not Xbox 360) game and started building his Sponge Box Lego set. Desirae has also been playing dress-up (I haven’t had a chance to photograph that yet). She really loves the Sponge Box pink pants that Nana and Max got her too. She has been carrying the darn thing around with her ever since! It is a pretty good size so I imagine it will be around for a long while! Deanna has been enjoying her new presents as well but the really funny thing is that Desirae plays with her little scooter and she plays with Desirae's guitar! Go figure!

The kids also wanted to get Nana and Max something so they picked out (with a little help from Denise) Okaland Raiders Christmas hats… That should work out well for their family gathering next weekend – where all of Max’s family root for a different team!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Childrens Hospital

Today was the big day and we made our trek down to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Devin's doctor has 9 years at Children's Hospital and he specializes on kids with cerebral palsy. He pretty much discounted what the other doctor had to say and when we offer to have his report sent he said "no thank you". He offered a plan of casting both of Devin's legs to put them into the right position with a constant stretch coupled with knee braces for the evening to get a full 8 hours of stretching at night. We will have the casts on until we go back down there on the 8th of January. Then they will either cast up some new braces for him or do another couple of weeks with another set of casts. He says that he has seen great results with the casts and that he has high hopes that it will make a big differences. Denise was the first to notice that he is standing better and straighter with the casts.

It was a bit stressful to have them go and do something like this - but it was kind of what I was hoping for. Someone who really had some quality experience dealing with this type of problems and not having to deal with the HMO roadblocks that we have in the past. Just think about it - Denise set up the appointment a couple of weeks ago (without a referral - just called and that was it) and when they decided he needed casts we just walked down the hall and had it done. No authorizations, referrals, disapproval or anything like that!

OBTW - I pasted that monthly milestone today. I have had my all time monthly high maxed to 60 pictures sold... Since it is only the 13th I should have a pretty good month!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Milestone and more...

Okay - the first thing for today... I sold 100 pictures on iStock! I mean it isn't really that much but today was the big 100. It seems that pictures of Devin seem to sell pretty good. It is also funny that the photographs that I completely planned out sell better than everything else. So what does this mean? Well, not very much but right now I have made $41.60 on iStock and $54.10 on Shutterstock. Oh - I have sold 216 images on ShutterStock. I do have sales on some of the other sites - but they are fairly small compared to the main two. If I the sales continue on the same I should pass my all time monthly high on Shutterstock too - so that will a milestone as well.

We had a little potential problem today with our Children's Hospital appointment. As it turns out the doctors are currently not preferred providers and as such we have to pay a little more for Devin's appointment on Wednesday. However it really isn't that bad - but the hospital is still preferred so any x-rays and braces will be covered as preferred. So I imagine the appointment will go pretty good. Denise spend HOURS on the telephone today with Children's Hospital and Blue Cross tracking down all the different variables to this equation. In the end it is going to be just slightly more than we expected. Though I suppose it would be nice to NOT have this right before Christmas - but considering our yearly deductibles it will cost us less than if we do it in Jan. If interested the Oct 05 Children's Hospital post is here!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Denise and Desirae day...

Denise and Desirae had a pack meeting today that was a cookie exchange. It was supposed to last until 1300 to 1600 but they came home after about an hour. I guess they just booked the room for the extra time just in case. So needless to say there was a lot of cookies around the house.

As shots went I think that one is my favorite from the weekend. The tree is there too albeit a tad depressing. I did not actually get a chance to do any of the ideas I had wanted to do - oh well - maybe next weekend.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tree of Sorrow...

December has been a very odd month for a multitude of reasons. The main one is that people are dropping like flies around here. Just at work we have had three deaths. The one that hit closest to home was when a co-workers' 22 year old daughter was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver. We had one airman allegedly kill myself. Another NCO was hit by a car while he was walking after parting too much. And there are various people who have family members who have terminal cancer and have been given a very short amount of time to live. So the entire atmosphere at work has been very somber. I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral for the one girl and though it sounded like a wonderful service it is just too tragic.

Kris had pointed out this tree when we were coming back from our shoot and it seemed to capture the mood of at least the day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting ready for Christmas...

Today was the day we got everything down to decorate for Christmas. So we - put together the tree - and decorated it. So far having a fake tree is pretty nice - not having to mess with a real one. Denise did end up going and getting some plastic ornaments because of Deanna - she thinks it is her own private toy box [tree]. I will probably try and make some more images of it later today or at least in the week.

Crazy Saturday...

Well, this was an interesting day. We went into town separately so that Devin and I could have a special day together. It turned out that he just wanted to go to the Lego store. Oh well, kids will be kids. I should have realized it when he kept talking about going to the iMac store or See's Candies. I thought he actually wanted to go to THOSE places instead of the Lego store. The problem was that was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to The Grove down in LA (well, LA area) in December. I won't even go to our local mall so going during the holiday was out of the question. Heck I would have been willing to go to the beach or all kinds of other places. I guess it was a bit disappointing, but we still had fun - even if we didn't go to the lego store.

On an irritating note - iStock has reduced their upload limits AGAIN so now I am limited to 15 images a week. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get all of the images approved but generally they reject something. At least I am getting more images up there though. At least ShutterStock doesn't have that issue and I am ALMOST at 100 images there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Full house meeting...

I guess the pack leader sent out a nasty letter to everyone that if they weren't going to show up to just drop their kids out. So tonight there were more people at a meeting then I have seen in a VERY long time. Personally I kind of like the smaller meetings - but I guess since there are 14 kids signed up having only 3 or 4 kids show up for a meeting isn't that great. As is typically the meetings didn't last very long and the den leader let everyone go after 40 minutes. I didn't really care, but one lady left her kid there so he was running around unsupervised for a few until his mom came back. I didn't realize it until Devin and I were driving away and I saw her getting out of the car. I would be WAY MAD if I was her... But then again I wouldn't leave Devin there by himself, but that is NOT the norm for everyone else (except for Mike who also stays).