Friday, September 30, 2005

Wedding Jitters... and I'm not even the one getting hitched!

I finally got together with the family and had a long talk about what it is they want from me as their photographer.

It would have been simpler to ask if there was anything they didn't want.

Here's the deal: the groom wants great art, as does the rest of the family. How harshly will they critique it? All I know is that his parents are co-owners of the Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery, and they all expect the best.

I was told when I took this job that it was simply candid/photojournalistic wedding coverage; they already had a photographer for all the formal work. That is no longer the case.

The new situation is that the bride's second cousin is a photographer for the wedding doing formal stuff, but they want me to do the formals as well, but it sounds to me like I'm going to be doing everything myself, but they're telling her she's the main one so she feels good about herself. I could be wrong, I won't really know until tomorrow at 1 when I start working.

Another interesting development: the gallery where they're having the reception is full of feminine art at the moment. That is to say, it's filled with images and sculptures of naked women, and will be as such for the big day.

I'm not kidding. I'm actually going to have to put a disclaimer on the gallery that some might be offending by the adult content found in my images from the reception. Salvador Dali would be stunned by the sheer surreality of it all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ummm, Excuse me!

Things have been way too tense on this blog lately, and I'd like to see it move TOWARD friendlier ground.

You might notice that a post with a lot of comments dissappeared today. That was my doing, although not intentionally. (Sometimes I get distracted and hit the wrong combination of buttons without thinking. Shame on me, moving on...)

First off, all flames will be deleted right off from this moment on. I will not respond to mean, rude or downright annoying people; I will simply ignore them as they deserve.

If you don't like my writing or photography, leave. I don't recall typing the address in your browser, jamming your eyelids open and/or forcing your face to the screen.

Oh, and if you have a problem with something I say or do, please try to elaborate your feelings further than just saying it "sucks." I'm not saying you can't use the word, I use it all the time. Just please, please try to say why it sucks, or if you want to contribute a little, how not to make it suck.

And for the love of God Almighty, (or, if you're an athiest, the love of Pete) if you're some guy who knew me in high school and want to reminisce, include your name. I don't like it when people from my past try to get me to play the guessing game, and anyone who tries to do so from here on will be ignored.

In closing, let's just try to get along. GROUP HUG!


Today has been a day about truth for me.

I gave a presentation to a group of about 35 high school students about localizing big national stories. During this presentation, I presented them what I believe the goal of every reporter should be: to be a provider of truth above anything else.

I covered a pair of news stories in which it was my job to find the truth so it could be in tomorrow's paper.

But the biggest one came about half an hour ago, when I told a girl the truth about how I felt about her, and then she told me the truth in her response.

What that response was is between me and her (unless she tells), but I will say this:

The truth really does set you free, and I only wish I'd said it sooner.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Those nasty headaches went away.

And now they have come back.

I think I'm going to go see a doctor.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Business Planning

I've realized that my business has been expanding in phases.

The film kit was training. It was just me and my camera, learning how to use light and make people look good. I learned the fundamentals, and I went on to the next step.

The 20D and the 70-200mm, along with the first three months of business, were the first phase. This was a dangerous time because the slightest mistake could have derailed everything. It was during this time that I took my film knowledge and converted to digital imaging while trying to attract larger jobs and build my customer base.

And with the addition of the flash, the wide zoom, and my bag, I find myself in the second phase. This will hit me full force in one week, when I cover my first wedding.

You know how there's all this planning and preparation with weddings? Well, the family hasn't informed me of any of it other than the date, time, and location. I've scouted it as best I can, but the fact remains that unless they suddenly decide to clue me in (which I doubt will happen as they are very busy) I'm going to have precious little intel on the wedding. Essentially, I'm diving headfirst into murky water, once again, and I can't screw up, I can not fail.

Phase 3 is already in development, but my priority now is to pull in some more funds before I get that far.

I've also been working to manage risks I have in my business, namely my laptop. Since I started this business, every bit of image processing has been done on this one machine. I have no backup machines with the needed softare, just this one. This is a problem because it creates a single point of failure. That is, if my laptop stops, so does my business.

I have enough money in reserve to replace this computer if neccessary, and I have all the software I'd need on the new one ready to install, but I hope to keep that money in reserve. Hopefully, I can pull enough money together to build a new desktop digital-imaging system to do most of my work while using my laptop for fun stuff and fieldwork. Here's what I want:

1. Big CRT monitor, they show colors much more accurately than LCDs.
2. 1.5-2 GB RAM for RAM-hungry programs like photoshop and photomechanic.
3. 40-80 GB primary hard drive with redundant backup hard drives.
4. 2.5Ghz or more processor speed
5. At least 2 (two) USB 2.0 Card Readers for memory card ingestion

Ahh, that's all the planning I want to do tonight.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I'll never be welcome in my family's home again...

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
My new "gadget bag:" the Lowepro Stealth Reporter 300 AW.  Posted by Picasa
I has a special rain cover built into the back of the top that makes it extra water-resistant. Posted by Picasa
Here's the regular top to it, with a special zipper for grabbing items in a hurry. Posted by Picasa
I also like the pull-out weather-proof cover. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I want to smash my head against a wall. Repeatedly. Until it cracks open.

For the past few days, I've gotten nothing but pain from my head, mostly from what feels like the right-hand side of my brain. It's as if some sharp, pointy, and abrasive is lodged in my skull, and Ibuprofen, which normally makes my headaches stop in their tracks, has failed me.

I tried Aleve yesterday hoping a different approach would help. Instead it got worse. The pain spread through my whole head and made all of my joints hurt while giving me a strong feeling of disorientation. So either it was side effects, or i have a problem Aleve isn't meant to solve.

The problem is, I can't focus on words, and my writing is going to hell as a results. The story I wrote yesterday (which was printed before I said it was done) was a piece of crap and I'm downright embarrassed over it. I just want this shit to stop

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I have to shoot portraits of 3 football teams two weeks from now. I like this pose, but what do you think? (The model is my little brother, Neal) Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 16, 2005

My newest photographic tool, an EF 17-35MM 2.8L USM lens. Please welcome the new member of my gadget-bag family. Posted by Picasa
One happy family: my EF 70-200MM 2.8L USM on the left and my new EF 17-35MM 2.8L USM. Together, they are worth almost $2,000. However, when working with them, I earn about $30-$50 per hour of actual labor. Not to mention the fact that they're meant to last at least 10 years. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

GK in the hizzou!

Garrison Keillor and the cast of "Prairie Home Companion" put their show on in Hutchison, KS over the weekend at the state fair. This was the first time the show, which has been going for 30 years, was performed here.

Several Kansas acts, and Governor Kathleen Sebelius, were part of it. Here's where you can listen to the whole thing for free, but I highly reccomend Guy Noir, as well as the News from Lake Wobegon.

Try the Kansas Rap at your own Peril. (I wish I was making that part up)

Monday, September 12, 2005

I got a new lens

My most recent purchase

You should have heard the seller when he told me on the phone that he had "sigh" expected it to sell for a whole lot more.

This cost $1,400 new and Canon "L" glass (The L-series are the best lenses they make in their respective focal lengths) usually keep 80-85% of their value. However, it's a 17-35mm, which was replaced by the 16-35mm a few years ago and thus lost a lot of it's value.

Not that I'm complaining.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Oh look, a venomous, angry epiphany!

I've realized a few things about how I relate to women that I'd like to share:

1. I'm tired of being a relationship counselor to women who would never consider dating me but treat me in a semi-interested fashion so I'll stay around thinking I have a chance but really do nothing but provide an easy audience.

2. I'm tired of listening to women cry and moan and complain about how their men don't listen to them or pay enough attention to them or only want sex from them, yet when I hint at anything resembling a relationship with any girl (I've been trying, dammit) they give me one of those looks that you'd expect from a girl who just found a dead bug in her salad.

3. I'm tired of letting myself get tricked into thinking I have a shot at a meaningful relationship with a woman when she's just after a shoulder on which to lean, cry, or (much more often than any of them are willing to admit) bitch.

The song on my mind

"When you come back to me again" by Garth Brooks

There's a ship out
On the ocean
At the mercy of the sea
It's been tossed about
Lost and broken
Wandering aimlessly
And God somehow
You know that ship is me
'Cause there's a lighthouse
In the harbour
Shining faithfully
Pouring its light out
Across the water
For this sinking soul to see
That someone out there
Still believes in me

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and
It keeps me hanging on
Raining down against the wind
I'm reaching out till
We reach the circle's end
When you come back to me again

There's a moment
We all come to
In our own time and
Our own space
Where all that we've done, we can undo
If our heart's in the right place

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and
It keeps me hanging on
Raining down against the wind
I'm reaching out till
We reach the circle's end
When you come back to me again
And again I see my yesterday's in front of me
Unfolding like a mystery, you're changing all that is
And used to be

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and
It keeps me hanging on
Raining down against the wind
I'm reaching out till
We reach the circle's end
When you come back to me again

When you come back to me again

Friday, September 09, 2005

Weekend Plans

A few notes as I wait for sources to call me back for a story that's due today but won't run for a few weeks.

- At 5:30 tonight I'm picking Emma (my cousin's daughter) up from preschool and taking her home to Council Grove with me. My mom has been inviting her down time and time again, so she's finally getting her wish to have her neice's daughter come play with her for the weekend.

- Once I get home, I'm giving Emma over to mom and heading straight over to the football stadium to shoot the 7:00 football game at my alma mater, Council Grove High School. The coach has given me full permission to be on the sidelines, and I intend to make some great images tonight that should be on photoshelter by tomorrow morning.

- Business is going very well for me, I just celebrated my first $1,000 in print sales and will be introducing a new product later this month that I'm certain will blow people away.

Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape users beware!

Security flaws have been found in these softwares, please read the whole story here:

Hulk Smash!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Update on the $50 Prize o' Painful ethical problems

My editor ruled that since it was a drawing that was determined by luck alone, I can do whatever I want with the prize.

I already spent them, for all practical purposes... That is to say, I've already picked where they're going, and the irony is that I'm just as grateful to the recipient as they are to me.

They get $50, and I get a clean conscience. Well, clean for a journalist.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Declare that Ditty

"I'm living for the only thing I know
I'm running and not quite sure where to go
And I don't know what I'm diving into "

Got Ethics?

I covered the Aggieville Business Association meeting today and now I'm paying for it.

The meeting started at noon at the Aggieville Pizza Hut and lasted half an hour, and then the trouble started. You see, at the end of each meeting (or so they say), the ABA has a drawing of all the member businesses. There is a prize that is then given to the represtentative of that business as a reward for coming, it's for the person, not the business.

As luck would have it, they drew "Student Publications," the company that creates the Royal Purple, the Campus phone book, and of course, the Collegian. I kept quiet, but a few guys in the back started saying that since I was there reporting for the Collegian, I should get it. I know they meant well, but I did NOT want the prize.

I started saying I wasn't sure I should get it; that I was a reporter, not a business representative. They wouldn't have it, and despite continued efforts to get them to take no for an answer, they made me take the prize. I did, however, tell them I'd have to check this out with my editor and would likely have to return it.

Keep this in mind, I did not want the prize, ever. It's too much of a headache.

So I took it back to my editors. First there was my immeadiate superior, Annette, who deferred me to the Editor in Chief, Matt. He is conferring with other persons and should get me an answer tomorrow.

You see, had it been a gift, I would have refused it outright. The Collegian policy is clear on things like that. But this was a prize awarded by sheer luck, and they sounded like they'd be insulted if I didn't accept it.

I'm not sure what I'll wind up being told to do, but right now my guess is that it'll go to charity, which suits me fine. If anyone knows a serious charity (and none of the "buy me some beer" jokes, please) that could use the prize, please let me know.

By the way, if you're wondering where I said what the prize was, I didn't. I don't want the value of the prize to come into play in anyone's judgement of the situation. Once you've done that, read further.




Made your decision?

It's $50 in Aggiedollars, that is, 10 $5 tokens good at any Aggieville business.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Shot some fireworks from Purple Power Play on Poyntz tonight just for kicks.
 Posted by Picasa
Shot some fireworks from Purple Power Play on Poyntz tonight just for kicks.
 Posted by Picasa
Shot some fireworks from Purple Power Play on Poyntz tonight just for kicks.
 Posted by Picasa
Shot some fireworks from Purple Power Play on Poyntz tonight just for kicks.
 Posted by Picasa
Shot some fireworks from Purple Power Play on Poyntz tonight just for kicks. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 01, 2005

rehashed history

The past two weeks at the Collegian have been a worthwhile experience.

When I left the place on December 15, 2004, I did not know if I'd ever return to the Newsroom. I left my mark on the ceiling, sighed heavily, and left.

I spent almost a month at home in Council Grove, spending the last days with family and friends and realizing full well what I was walking away from.

I left for Washington on January eighth. I went over three months without seeing a friend from Council Grove. I healed some. I learned some. I changed some.

I came back in April, and at some point in the latter third of that month I went back in there. I looked about at the place I hadn't seen in four months. I saw a few smiles, a few welcomes, but I knew I didn't belong there. It was still wrong, it was all wrong.

I got a job with the Mercury for the summer, I covered the County Commission all summer long and dropped by the Collegian from time to time to open myself up to the place and try to adjust, to adapt.

Three or so weeks ago, we had orientation. A week later, we were producing our paper.

I've been doing one or two stories a day for the past week, and I'm going to continue at that rate for a while now, I think. Bylines are nice, and I like the freedom and trust my editors have been giving me.

Today, I found a note in my box from one of my editors thanking me for my efforts and tenacity in hunting down stories. It felt pretty darned good.

I have found the love I had for that place; the love that died slowly and painfully last fall is back, albeit in a different form. No more opinion. This time around, and from here on out, news is all that interests me.

Declare that Ditty

"Anyplace is better,
Starting from zero got nothing to lose.
Maybe we'll make something,
But me myself I got nothing to prove."