Tag Archives: News

Stepping Back for a Better Perspective

By the title alone, you may be thinking that this article has something to do with composition and perspective in photography. While that may be a useful topic at some point, that’s not what this is about… not directly anyway.

I’m speaking more about the big picture stuff here. Life in general.

My life has been in a state of drastic change over the last five months, and a lot of ups and downs have come with that change. The whole situation allowed me to really evaluate what was and was not important in my life. So here are a few thoughts on photography from the viewpoint of a hobbyist.

MY UNINTENTIONAL DISAPPEARANCE

Five months ago, I had no intension of putting the camera down or stepping away from my blogs. But life happens and I wasn’t left with much of a choice. Back in August 2010, I announced that I had packed up from San Diego and moved back to North Idaho where I grew up. That one event sparked a drastic change in my life.

Not only did we move (which is a painful and expensive process in itself), but I also decided that it would be a good time to become self employed as an engineer. It made a lot of sense because we live so far out in the boonies, the commute to the nearest city would eat up several hours of my day. I got all set up to pull work from my previous employer to get me off and running.

But then I started looking for work with other clients — more previous employers, previous associates and bosses, local companies. This takes a lot of time, and I don’t get paid to do it. But I did land a few other jobs via my contacts and I ended up being very busy. Not just a little busy — I’m talking 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week. Of course, that type of thing doesn’t go on forever, but there was a solid month where I couldn’t leave the house, watch TV, see friends, etc. Honestly though, I’m not complaining… the paychecks make it worth the effort.

It hasn’t been all profit though — it takes money to make money. The move alone set me back $15,000 out of pocket between all the house stuff and the move. Then I had to drop another $8,000 on a piece of software for my engineering business. So yeah, a couple hundred bucks for Photoshop looks a lot different to me now. At any rate, I’m finally starting to get caught up with the money situation.

In short, I’ve been busy either working or trying to scrape up future work for myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way though — I absolutely love working from home, setting my own rates, deciding what to work on, and wearing pajamas and slippers all day. So far, it seems to be working out and I plan to continue being self employed as long as I can.

THINGS THAT FELL OFF MY PLATE

With the self employed gig keeping me busy, I really had to evaluate what other activities were important enough for me to spend time on.

My family has to come above all else, so any small amount of time I have off has to be directed toward them. And now that I live across the street from my parents, next door to my grandmother, and within 30 miles of my brother and the in-laws, I have more family to spend time with on a regular basis. It’s great though, I do enjoy being back home (as does my wife).

The next two biggest things in my life are photography and blogging. With everything else going on, I just haven’t been able to justify spending much time on them. Sure, I posted a couple things here and there, shot a few rolls of film from time to time, but nothing at the level I was at before the move. Hell, I even managed to acquire a bunch of “new” film cameras and darkroom equipment in the last few months… but I’ll get into that on the film photography blog later this week.

Part of me feels terrible for letting things go for so long, but I always remember to take a step back and look at the big picture.

BIG PICTURE FOR A HOBBYIST

I’m not a professional photographer or blogger. Not even close. I make about 30-40x more per month with engineering than I do with photography and blogging combined. So when push comes to shove, it doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of time on my hobbies. The first priority has to be putting food on the table and paying the bills.

I enjoy doing both of these things, and I don’t see myself giving up either of them completely. I just need to come to terms with the fact that they are, and will be in the near future, only a hobby. Just for fun.

The other interesting thing about photography and blogging, for me, is that they continue to make a small amount of money even when I stop doing them for several months. The blogs have been earning consistent numbers for the last five or six months — I even picked up a couple of direct advertisers and saw some spikes in affiliate payouts. Photography has been fairly even too — a couple of small sales plus a signed print.

So I don’t get terribly stressed out when I have to step back from my hobbies for a while… they seem to just keep going on their own at some moderate level. Of course, by taking time off, I’m not growing these hobbies. My goal is to eventually make a decent income from blogging and/or photography so I can decide if it’s a viable career path, but engineering is my primary career and money maker right now.

LESSONS FOR MY FELLOW HOBBYISTS

Most of you can probably relate to having photography as a hobby/passion. And most of you can relate to having ups and downs in your life.

So when you find yourself short on time, don’t sweat the small stuff. Photography shouldn’t come before the really important things, like your family or your job. Even if you have a lot of followers on a blog or on Flickr, most of them will still be around when you get back to it.

And taking a bit of a break from time to time might not be a bad thing. I’m getting to the point where I really want to get back into things — shoot some photos, get the darkroom up and running, post some stuff on the blogs. If you feel obligated to pursue your hobbies in rough times, they’re not fun any more.

Of course, it’s a different story for those making a significant income from photography and/or blogging. They don’t have the same luxury of choice — it is an obligation. As a hobbyist, be happy that you can choose where to spend your free time.

This is getting drawn out, so I’ll end it there. My big message here, is that I’m still alive and I plan on continuing with the photography and the blogging. I’ll be too busy for these hobbies from time to time, but I’m still around.

Recent Drama, But All Is Well

Just a quick note to the regular readers of the blog about the commotion earlier today. I found some malicious code that had been placed in every single file on every single website today by some jack-ass hacker or something, so things were a bit wonky for a while. My web host (Media Temple) helped me clear out the malicious code, but a bunch of the files were still damaged.

Lucky for me, I carry backups and I only lost a few days worth of material. I’ve never had to go this extreme before due to an attack, but I had to delete the entire website and database before reinstalling my backup files. Everything seems to have gone smoothly and the site is back to it’s old self. I reposted the last 2 articles manually, so you feed readers shouldn’t be alarmed when you see those fly through again. Now to fix the other two blogs in a similar fashion…

I’m also extending the deadline for the current contest and giveaway for a few reasons. Mainly, because I don’t know if the site was reachable this weekend (I didn’t even turn on my computer on Saturday). Another reason is because I’m going to be busy over the next day or two fixing my other blogs that got screwed up. And also because we only have a few entries (like in the range of 4 or 5, and I’m giving away 3 prizes). So the new deadline is the 13th of this month — that’s only a few days away, so hurry up and get those entries in for a chance at some free software.

Photography Wonder: Photography Q&A Forum

A new photography website launched today, and this one is a bit different from others out there. It’s not a blog, it’s not a discussion board, and it’s not a typical forum.

The idea behind Photography Wonder is a Q&A platform just for photographers and all topics directly related to photography. You can ask questions, you can answer questions, and you can vote on the best answers. The model is similar to something like Yahoo Answers, but it has the benefit of being very specific to a single topic.

It’s free to sign up and definitely worth checking out. If you have some photography questions, you might get some good answers from the community. And if you’re the knowledgeable type, you can share your thoughts with others.

WWW.PHOTOGRAPHYWONDER.COM
(tipped off via Jake Garn)

Link Roundup 09-30-2010

Don’t forget that we have ongoing themes in our Flickr pool and I’ll be selecting my favorites on the topic of “Camera Porn” sometime next week. We only have a few entries in the pool, so be sure to see here for details on participating.

Watch PhotoNetCast Live — Tonight!

[tweetmeme]Over at PhotoNetCast, Antonio has been making constant improvements and feature additions to the site. One of the most recent is “PhotoNetCast Live“.

This is a dedicated page on the site that holds a video feed and chat box. So when we’re recording, the video feed will be rolling and you can see/hear the show in real-time. You can also join in the making of each episode by asking questions or making comments in the chat box directly below the video feed.

So if you’re interested in listening to us record the show and seeing our faces, head over to the PhotoNetCast Live page at 9PM PST tonight. Again, the next show will be recorded at:

9PM PST (11PM CST), September 23, 2010

Swing by tonight and say hello if you’re a fan of the show.

Canvas Print Discount for the UK Folks

[tweetmeme]1ClickPrint is offering up a special discount code for the readers of Epic Edits. They provide all sorts of printing services, but this discount applies to their canvas printing. And since they are a UK based company, their offer extends only to the UK and Ireland. So here’s the deal:

Take a £10 discount on canvas prints. There’s no minimum purchase needed to use the code and they deliver for free. The offer is good for all of 2010.

DISCOUNT CODE: 1576646293

The code can be used online, over the phone, or in store. They have branches in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Dinnington. So if you’re out that way and you are thinking about printing on canvas, maybe give these guys a shot and use that discount!

Anybody have experience with 1ClickPrint and their canvas printing services?

A Preview of “Shooting Robert King”

I was contacted by Media Junction the other day about an upcoming documentary video on war photographer Robert King. Here’s a brief overview:

At times war photographer Robert King resembles a heroic misfit straight out of the pages of Scoop, thrown into the heart of battle, struggling to adapt to the brutal environment he finds himself in. Occasionally comic, often touching, more often dark, Shooting Robert King, the tale of Robert King, is a unique and personal journey, a film which follows him over 15 years and through three wars.

His journey starts in Sarajevo in 1993, a 23-year-old fresh out of Art College and prepared to dodge bullets on the front line dreaming of a Pulitzer Prize. His dream proves elusive. Fired by his photo agency and struggling to make ends meet, any swashbuckling allusions Robert holds for the career he has chosen quickly evaporate: as he realises this is one of the toughest professions in the world.

Despite himself, Robert stays in the game, over time establishing himself as a respected professional, his work making the front covers of global media titles. Over 15 years Shooting Robert King records Robert’s life from boy to man, to husband and father. It is a biography, which leads from reckless naivety to maturity hardened by war and softened by family. It is a story, which forces Robert to inevitably question why he chose a profession, which involves an endless trail of death and destruction.

I have a pre-release review copy of the video coming in the mail, and I’ll be doing a full review once I see it. In the meantime, be sure to follow the link below to the main site for a preview of the film and information about where you can purchase it. The release date is September 27.

SHOOTING ROBERT KING

Bicycle Portraits – Part 2


Bicycle Portraits / Part II from Bicycle Portraits on Vimeo.

I wrote about the “Bicycle Portraits” project a few months ago when they were trying to raise the initial $15,000 for their book project. Well, they met their goal and it’s on to part 2 where they need to raise an additional $7,500 by September 16.

Again, the idea is to turn this project into a self-published full-color hard-cover photographic book. Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler recently started investigating South African bicycle culture and the lack of cyclist commuters out there on our roads. In their travels, they’re photographing fellow cyclists and learning more about them for the book.

The deadline is really short on this round, so get over there and pledge some money today. Your donations will only go through if the goal has been reached by the deadline.

And don’t forget that a $50 donation acts as a pre-order for a copy of the book (which is the price of most hard cover photo books anyway). Of course, larger donations will get you additional perks.

So head over to the Bicycle Portraits Kickstarter page for more information on what the project is about and how you can help.

Link Roundup 09-01-2010

Finally starting to clear out my feed reader and catching up on these link posts. I have about 10 or 15 more in the hopper, but I’ll save them for another day.

Link Roundup 08-23-2010

Okay… these are a little old, but I’m just getting back on the ball with my feed reading and link sharing. I have plenty more coming, but I didn’t want to push them all out at once.

On a side note, we’re also going to get the Flickr Challenge going again. The current challenge is “environmental portraits” — you can read the announcement here and see the current entries in the pool. I’ll be choosing the winners sometime this week.