Monday, April 30, 2007

Bob Harris...

Well, today has been a pretty depressing day. Denise received a call that people only dread to receive. Her brother Gene called her this morning to tell her that their father had died on Sunday. It appears that he had a heart attack. He was in the middle of an Enduro motocross race when he stop, parked his bike, then passed away. This was really a major shock and completely unexpected. Bob was very active, I mean heck his 60+ and he is racing motorcycles, and for all intense and purposes was very healthy. So it has been a very somber day to say the least. My mom is coming down tomorrow to watch the kids and then Denise and I are flying out on Wednesday. The viewing is on Thursday and the funeral is on Friday. We fly back on Sunday. Even as I write this I really just can’t believe it. Bob was really an amazing guy, someone that I always felt I could look up to and aspire to be more like. I can’t believe that he is gone. Denise is doing pretty well considering the circumstances. The worst part is we have done everything we can think of to get a hold of Denise’s sister in Bolivia without any luck. We have called their local church here in California, emailed the US Embassy in Bolivia, and tried numerous telephone numbers to try and get a message to her.

The photograph above was from Bob and Charlotte visit back in 18 Jul 2005.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary! Kind of hard to believe that it has been 17 years! It was kind of a low-key day. I did end up taking Friday off so Denise and I had the chance to have breakfast together. Trying to coordinate going out to town for dinner is a bit problematic so we didn't even try to do that. (The problem is we end up burning about two hours just in travel time). I didn't really do to much just a card and then 16 red roses and 1 white rose. Hopefully I didn't cross some flower god thing - but I thought it was a cool idea to do it that way. The best thing is that I really feel like our relationship keep getting better and better.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Poppy Festival

We finally made it back to the Antelope Valley Poppy Festival. Last year we were unable to go - I was at my Mom's and Max's, the weather was bad, and she didn't want to try to herd the kids around. The kids were pretty good and it was a really nice event this year. Denise bought her and the girls some tidied dress that I think will look really neat for a photo shoot. We had hoped to get there just as the gates opened but we left the house a little late. The only real problem is we kept getting to places just as they were finishing up. For instance the Home Depot booth ran out and they took some of the animals away just as we walked up. So that was a bit frustrating. But all in all it was a good time and Denise was happy. I posted a series of pictures here!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Well, this wasn't exactly what I was going for - but I had a problem this evening and EVERY shot I took with my 70-200 was out-of-focus so they were all trash. Now I should have checked the focus at 100% when I first imported the shots - but it was the last step - and I almost forgot about it. I had just finished processing the images when a little voice said - you should check the focus on these images. It was really disappointing - but it was just that I was sloppy in my focus. Now this shot is tack sharp but it isn't really stock worthy. However I have decided that I need to start taking more portrait shots to get my skill level up for that. So all is not lost.

Speaking of stress it was kind of funny today because I was talking to my counter part at work today and he is where I was quite a few years ago with the eye twitch. When I came in to talk to him today - to compare notes and such - he mentioned his eye and he definitely had a twitch. It is just truly amazing the situation we find ourselves in.

On another note Denise had a Tupperware party today. It was a pretty quickly thrown together event but it sounded like it was pretty cool. Denise took some photographs of the event but I have no idea where her camera is right now. So tomorrow when I can find it I will post an image of it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More studio work...

The big plan today was to do some studio work. Denise had the idea about shooting some bubbles so we set everything up for that. Kris wanted to do some photography and Lightroom stuff so he came over and helped out. He also took some shots - like the one above - of everything that was going on. I didn't get exactly what I had in my mind, but I do think we got some really good stuff. Sometimes it really feels like trying to herd cats when directing the kids in a shoot. Desirae really did some wonderful stuff later in the second shoot. Actually during that session the idea was to get the kids playing with the grass from the Easter baskets. I ended up submitting 2 (and one really had uneven lighting and I shouldn't have submitted it) but I had a bunch of Desirae just by herself that really look great.I have already uploaded 24 images from two separate shoots today so hopefully my image are good and the reviews push them forward.

In the shot about you can see the two new softboxes and the old Alien bees on umbrellas. It is REALLY nice to have strobes to light everything evenly. I used the ABs to light the blue seamless paper and the two large softboxes to light the kids. It worked out REALLY well.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In use...

When I started this microstock thing I was never focused on seeing my images in use or getting a byline. For me it has always been about trying to create good images that people/designers would be willing to buy. I often read folks on the stock forums asking about how to find there stuff in use and again it has never been my motivation I generally don't even look for my images in use. So today it was a bit of a surprise to get an email from iStock informing me that one of my images had been used in a design that was submitting to the designer spotlight. If interested check the link and check out the design. There are only a couple of pages listed - but one of the pages has the image of Devin and Desirae playing in the pool.

We continued to make more photographs today mainly focusing on food. The idea was to shoot everything that we made today but our steam ran out (my steam) toward the middle of the day. We did get some really nice images of breakfast ingredients and the final product. As imaging goes this has been a pretty good couple of days - I think I have uploaded 20+ images over the last two days.

Oh - Denise reminded me that I failed to mention yesterday that I purchased another set of lights. This time I bought a 2000 watt second kit from Photoflex, the StarFlash 1000 Gemini Large LiteDome Kit with Bag. It is a pretty massive unit especially with the large softboxes but they are really nice strobes with a LOT of power and 250W modeling lights.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Okay, today was kind of a weird day. Today was a melt down day. I headed into work, went to my first meeting, and really before even walking in the door I knew I needed to leave. I am incredibly frustrated and I had some drastic changes I was considering implementing. Considering my state of mind I really figured making ANY decision was probably not a good idea. Immediately following the meeting I met with my boss, let him know what was going on, and he agreed I probably should take a couple of days to regroup. I do not recall being like this before so it was all very irritating.

After an odd day and once everyone was asleep I decided to make some milk and cracker photographs. Since I generally don't shoot from behind the "set" I thought I would post one this time. So I am editing some pictures now and listening to The Doors to try and unwind... Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter Shoot...

We had an idea for a shoot with the Easter Eggs that we did today. Since we have everything setup in the garage Desirae dressed up and we did a shoot with her. They turned out pretty good - although too late to really sell well - but we have another batch in the queues right now. Actually out of the shoot we also got some really nice shots of Devin playing with his Nintendo DS and of Deanna doing "happy feet" on the set. It was really pretty funny. I will try to editing those shots tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow we invited Randy over for Easter. He is only going to be here for a little bit longer before he PCSs. Unfortunately we already missed Melissa who has already left to spend time with her family in Colorado. She left the week Denise had her eyes done. Anyway it should be a good time tomorrow!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Something different...

I was reading today about making strip links in your portfolio on istock to help drive traffic to your galleries and collections. I spent a while today generating some of these for a few of my collections. From what I have read it does help sales so it is definitely worth a try. I basically did it for all my good selling images - so if my not-so-good selling images start moving then I know I am on to something.

Denise's eyes are still doing pretty darn well. Her last appointment went well again. Still amazing they can do that!

I finished the fence yesterday... That was fun...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New eyes update...

Everything has been going very well after Denise's surgery. It is really hard to believe that it was surgery considering it only lasted about 10 minutes... Her vision is still pretty darn good but her eyes are fairly tired and she has to rest them a lot. She is on the first week regiment of eye medication which consists of drops 6 times a day. Next week it drops down depending on the outcome of her 1 week appointment. She is still able to see pretty darn good though - it is just amazing really...

Oh with the wind storm that we had last week - we didn't realize that a section of our fence blew down. We finally did notice it on Friday - or maybe Saturday - I can't remember. Anyway today I drove into Tehachapi to visit the new Lowes - you know they are improving home improvement... Actually I think it is a bunch of bull - improving home improvement would be me sitting on my butt drink a damn glass of iced tea with a little sliver of lemon in the air conditioning while WATCHING some poor sap digging out the broken boards, breaking up the old concert, planting the new board, and doing it all with a smile. I guess I could have video taped myself - but seeing my fat ass turning red with a sunburn, sweating profusely, and looking like I was about to have a stroke wouldn't be that much fun... Hmmm... Well I guess if I didn't think it was me it might be entertaining... But I digress... Anyway - the post it set - tomorrow I should be able to put the boards back up... I can't wait!!!!