Friday, July 28, 2006

What the Duck?

The name says it all: My new favorite blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Closing time

I'm shutting down my photography business.

Don't worry, it's not permanent. I'm closing it because I have a lot of things I need to change with my business and a lot of decisions to make regarding its future.

Why must I shut it down, you ask? It's like needing to replace the serpentine belt on your car. You don't just pop the hood while you're on the road and reach on in. You need to pull over and take your time so that things work better once you're back on the road.

Same thing here. I need to review all my finances and examine my past sales to figure out where I can go from here, and how best to get there. I can't do this while I'm still open because my bookkeeping has gotten out of control and I need to balance everything up, then make my decisions. I plan on being open again in one month. Hopefully, I'll be back in half that time.

And when I do come back, I intend to make it better than ever.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Getting old

I was working on my computer today when I noticed something strange about the person I saw in the mirror on the wall. He didn't look familiar, even though he was me.

I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation or the stress of dealing with hundreds of whiny high school students, but for some reason today I simply cannot recognize my own reflection. I see a strange person in the mirror who moves as I move, but doesn't seem like me. Maybe I am too tired.

This week has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I've been interacting with these secondary-schoolers the whole time and there have been some strange moments where I have found myself put in a position I've found unfamiliar. I can't really name it, but it's somewhere along the lines of a role model and teacher, but blurry.

This got really strong for me a couple days ago when I did an interview excercise with the class I'm assisting, Newspaper Writing & Design. I started out by interviewing the whole class, about 20 students, at once. I'd bounce from source to source, pulling facts and opinions out of the students and switching between different strategies of obtaining information. I was good, and the students were amazed at how calm I was as I went about with my interrogation. There were laughs and giggles at funny answers and consideration for thoughtful ones, but the students were much happier to hear I was turning the tables to let them interview me.

No holds barred.

One of the teachers suggested they try and get some dirt on me, which suited them well. They asked about all my misdeeds: had I ever done drugs? How many? How often do I get drunk now? What about when I was in High School? What was the worst thing I ever did to someone?

I answered each question in full. I never flinched, I needed to show I wasn't afraid of the truth. But by the end of the interview I thought about all these things they really wanted to know. I mean, the prospect of finding out the surly details of my past had them on the edge of their seats.

So I asked, what made it special to them to know about the time I got so drunk I had to cling to a fence to stand and spent more than an hour conversing with random people through yelling?

The unanimous answer: I'm an adult who's been through what they're going through, and they wanted to know how I dealt with it.

I was stunned. These kids sought my experience and maybe approval of the lifestyle many of them life or are pushed to live by their friends. I kept asking why they wanted that, because it seemed to me they were wanting to justify decisions they'd made or would make.

I set the straight on it all, in my own little way. I didn't tell them not to drink; rather, I told them to decide for themselves. I said that if they liked the taste of a cold beer or a sharp glass of rum, then go ahead. I knew there was nothing stopping them, but then I started naming other reasons. I said that if they were drinking to make themselves feel better or because they were told to by friends or because they think they're supposed to, then they need to reconsider. I stressed that it was their choice, and I wasn't going to make it that clean for them.

And I think it worked. They reacted respectfully to my comments and I think, I hope I got through to them all.

What's funny is, I haven't had more than a few beers in a single night since I turned 21. I guess just knowing I have the right is enough anymore.

It's strange being my age. I wasn't more than six years older than any of those students. Some not even four years. But I'd crossed the threshold to being 21, and it's one hell of a leap. Your mind changes when you start buying your own beer legally, although I'm not entirely certain that's absolute causality. There's other factors to this.

Like a few weeks ago when I saw a soldier on TV who'd just been killed in Iraq. He was 19, and it dawned on me that the ones out there fighting for my county and coming back in boxes are now younger than me. I was so much younger when this war started and I watched the older boys packing up and leaving. Since when did I get to be older than them?

Now I understand why older people get sad seeing "boys" dying in wars. As a teen, 18 and older was adulthood. Today, I see it was just a start.

I know I have my whole life ahead of me still (Well, 3/4 of it, when you consider statistics). It just seems from the point I'm at that maybe I moved a little too fast already. Maybe I missed something I should have payed some serious attention.

But it's too late now. Time is up for this moment. Now for whatever comes next.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trapped at the Ramada

Two weeks ago I was asked by one of the teachers at K-State's J-School to help with a workshop they were putting on for a few hundred high school students. They said it was a week's work, I'd be paid $200 and would get free housing at the Ramada Plaza Hotel plus all meals. Neither of us had the time to discuss it in detail, but I said yes.

Now as I sit here on old carpet in a long hall with no wallpaper or air-conditioning, where I shall stay for at least another two hours, I am starting to wonder if I should reconsider that decision. You see, I'm on hall-watching duty, which is where I have to sit out in the hall and watch them come and go and make sure the students don't sneak out to go to Aggieville or do God knows what else. It is not a pleasant duty, but a necessary one.

Don't get me wrong, I want to make this workshop as good as I can, but it really gets boring at night.I'll probably be online till late, (I was up till one am last night) so if you want to talk, I'm not going anywhere.

MSN: firsthobbit
AOL: LgnAdams

Friday, July 14, 2006

Non-Photography Day

Found this on The Digital Journalist:

"Non-Photography Day"

I think it's a giant pile of BS, and I intend to take lots of pictures on the 17th just to spite her, and I hope you do too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A new plan for selling prints

I upgraded my photoshelter Web site today by moving my entire ordering system online so people pay with their credit cards. It used to be that they'd hand me a check and a list of pictures they wanted and I would ship them, but this makes it all a lot more simple.

Check it out here, and buy something for once! :P

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rejected Advertisement

I thought if using the following line in a newspaper ad for my youth sports photography, but I ultimately decided it would be taken the wrong way by too many people. So I shall only share it here:

"Has Logan Adams shot your children?"

Consider yourselves among the lucky few.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Back from Camp

I'm back in civilization now after one hell of a time in the foothills if the Rocky Mountains.

I spent the last week sleeping on a cot and hiking for several hours each day at Camp Cris Dobbins at the Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch just south of Elbert, Colo. I'm still too tired after all of it to write it in a long story form, so instead I will deliver it in short vignettes, as follows:

-It's at about 7,000 feet elevation, has very little humidity and the temperature never went about 85 degrees the entire time I was there. Mosquitos were non-existent there due to the dryness, so the only bug-bites I got came from spiders, and those were but a handfull. It was really a lot better than it sounds here, but you wouldn't understand unless you spent a week at a Kansas camp and got so many bites you could find the constellations in them.

There were only the occasional drops of rain all week, never enough to get me to pull my rain poncho from my pack. I got a little moist once, but I was too stubborn to reach for it because I knew it would be a royal pain to stuff it back into that tiny plastic bag it comes in.

-The food was terrible. The meatloaf was a brick of ground beef covered in generic barbecue sauce. Breakfast was almost always lukewarm.

-The counselors were interesting people. There was a pair of high school students in the Crafts lodge who were fun to talk with, they were like the kids I hung out with way back when. One girl, Michelle I believe, made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair. She told me about her brother, who is in the Army in military intelligence but volunteered to go to Iraq as a Humvee gunner this fall. What's funny is that she made him promise that, when he shoots his first Iraqi, he shouts "I'm liberating you."

Another interesting counselor was a college student who taught photography merit badge. Her name was Savannah and I enjoyed hanging out in the class as she taught the boys how to shoot, develop and print real black and white film. I've never been able to actually watch the process and it was so awesome to see real photography being done like that. Shame none of the scouts had really mastered exposure or compostion yet, they may just go straight to digital now without ever learning the joy of film.

The staff really enjoyed singing, and it was really moving sometimes when they'd pull off an great number. At the closing campfire Friday night, the program director took out his guitar and a few other staffers stood next to him and they sang "Georgetown" (a place in Colorado this time, not DC) and "Fire on the Mountain" (Marshall Tucker Band song about the gold rush). Their versions were soft, smooth and utterly glorious. I almost cried when they sang the words:

"We were diggin' and siftin' from five to five,
Sellin' everything we found just to stay alive.
Gold flowed free like the whiskey in the bars,
Sinnin' was the big thing, lord and Satan was his star.
And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air,
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there."

-Shooting sports was freaking great. On Thursday night they have the Scoutmaster shootoff, where they blatantly suck up to the adult leaders so they'll come back to the camp next year. They let the leaders drop the energetic scouts off at a part of camp where they have lots of entertainment and learning stations set up. Staff members keep them under control, and the leaders have the evening off to go down to the shotgun, rifle and archery ranges and shoot all they want for two hours or so.

Camp Cris Dobbins literally has one of the best shotgun ranges in the country, it was donated by a multi-millionaire with the last name of Travis who heard they lacked a place to teach Shotgun shooting. It has luxurious ranges for both skeet and trap shooting, just like the one Mr. Travis has on his private island, they say. To top that off, he had his friend Pete Coors donate some guns for the facility.

The gun I shot was a stainless-steel-barreled, single-shot beauty -- made by Browning, I believe -- they said was worth $1800. I believe them, in my arms it felt like I held a masterpiece of a firearm. It was all I could do not to giggle from how nice it felt up against my shoulder.

I shot with three other men. We each got ten clay pigeons in sets of two. I was the only one who didn't shoot like a pansy and hold the gun at my shoulder before saying pull. I did it the proper way, with the butt off my shoulder and the barrel at a 45 degree angle to the ground. I got seven out of ten targets, and the range instructor was amazed at how far out from the thrower I was able to pick them off.

I also did rifle, .22s all around, which I did rather well in. Then the real fun came when I went to the Archery range. Bows and arrows werent' as popular that night, so instead of carefully doling out arrows the staffers in charge just handed me and the other guy a handful apiece and let us fill whatever targets we wanted.

There was the standard bull's eye, a bear, a deer, and elk, a bighorn sheep, some turkeys, and quail. I pumped each of them full of arrows. Especially the bear, he was looking at me funny.

Then I asked about a beat-up poster on the right of the targets that had been shredded to hell. The staffer showed me an unused copy of the poster: it was a dolphin with bull's eye over his chest, just between his pectoral fins. I laughed hard when I saw it. I knew what target I would be going after next.

It was a hard target to get, I'll tell you, the bull's eye itself was only 6-7 inches across; it was really a rifle target. That didn't stop me from trying though. I wound up missing the rings entirely, but I got two arrows in his beak, where I was aiming, and one in his tail. South Park fans will be glad to know that just before I made my first shot at flipper, I called out "It's coming right for us!"

-Hiking is great excercise. I've had several people remark how much thinner I look since getting back. With all that hiking, I'd better be a bit closer to skinny, damn it!

-I taught a lot of lessons, but learned a few, too. On Monday, for example, I taught about two or three dozen young Scouts several knots they needed to learn. The were in "Eagle Bound," a class for young scouts who need to fulfill requirements to make it through the lower ranks. I am known in my troop for my proficiency in the art of manipulating rope, and the other leaders suggested I do the class.

There was the square knot, the sheet bend, the timber hitch, the two half-hitches and the tautline hitch, and before I was done every scout knew them all. I made sure of it.

Some of the scouts were a challenge to teach. They liked to get up and jump about or use their ropes for whipping each other instead of practicing the knots. One Scout was expecially difficult to teach, but it was really an honor instead of a problem to have worked with him. His name was Derek, and he was blind. To teach him the knot, one of the counselors or I would slowly tie the knot in front of him, stopping at on each step to let him reach out and touch each part of the rope and discover where it went, and why.

And, by gum, he kept trying until he learned them all. I was so proud.

-The excitement didn't stop even after I got home. Two afters after my return I stepped out of the shower and got a phone call: there was a fire at a restaurant downtown. I dressed, grabbed my camera and went on down to shoot it, a week's facial hair growth still on my face. It was more than an hour of some of the most intense shooting I've ever done. Here's the gallery.