madshutterbug: (c)2001 by Myself: Photographed in the Miyazu Gardens, Nelson, New Zealand (Meditation)
Yesterday evening, the Pediatric Surgery Fellow Graduation Roast. We arrived stylishly late, though in time for dinner, and stayed through the end. Departed about 23:15 plus or minus a bit. Good food (leftovers for dinner this evening, or maybe, see today's events below) and a lot of fun in the Roasts on all sides. Not all Roasts, of course. Lots of photographs given, nor at all surprising as the Graduate likes them. At the risk of patting myself on the back, I to believe the Graduate much appreciated the composite Portraits of A and feel better about getting so carried away with that. She also likes the second and simpler commission. Both pieces the Junior Now Senior Fellow asked for as these gifts, and alas for you the reader as gift commissions they are not in the public portfolio.

Today to the Welcome the New Pediatric Surgery Fellow, a good deal more informal than the Graduation (and that, not particularly formal though slacks and nice shirts are de rigour), and lunch on the patio. Weather today provided a fair amount of rain, here at the Ranch first and also during the party there. We had enough of a break to get hog feed stowed and everyone fed for morning rounds, as well as the Buckling Shelter moved and re-set before we left.

And again arrived stylishly late. Very good food, in the manner of the host and hostess' culture and delightful. Enjoyed sitting on the covered patio and watching the rain while eating spiced foods and drinking excellent fruit punch. Ate enough, in fact, to make it potentially a moot point about needing dinner this evening. Came home to nap. Now. Been up from nap for a bit, and still sedentary even though it's about time to head out for Evening Rounds. Quite simply, enjoying the flavours and blends still, and digesting. Ahhhhh.

Quite a bit learned in the creation of these two commissions. In the first case, improving skills and knowledge with the GIMP application, generating a composite piece (the collage Portraits of A), albeit a fairly simple composite. Simple in the sense that as a collage of stacked photographs, there is no need to match lighting and blend images into a single coherent final 1000 Words. At the same time, the manipulations of each image, coming into the composite as a new layer and then worked within to match the concept for the stacked collection includes skills needed to achieve a blended single coherent final image.

As a composite of stacked photographs, it becomes a short story, a shade more than 1000 words, about the progress through two intense years of Pediatric Surgery fellowship. As one of the Pediatric Surgeons said in yesterday's presentations, four years work experience compressed into two. The short story then includes most all of the O.R. team that worked with A through those years.

The second commission proved a lot more straight forward photographic manipulation, simply making sure that the final image presented in sharp focus, and removing enough 'white space' to keep the viewer focused on the two primary subjects. In this case the white space is actually black, and area outside the starkly lit pair who are performing the title actions, ECMO Cannulation.

A portrait is a portrayal of the individual (or individuals) in the image, in the proverbial 1000 Words. The 1000 words here is that sometimes, indeed, Mohammed goes to the Mountain and the needed surgical procedure is performed where the patient is, elsewhere than the surgical theatre because that patient is in no condition to travel. The conditions may be less than ideal, and yet the care provided, the attention to details and asepsis all comes together to provide successful outcomes.

What the second image brought to the learning desk (along with the first commission) is in the realm of printing. I discussed that previously, and it still proves worthy to mention it again.

Making a photograph is only part of the equation. There are many photographers who capture the photograph then hire someone to print their work; this set of artists includes me, both for silver emulsion printing and digital work. Septic tanks and silver do not mix well, and as for the past ten years or so, with the move to a digital work concept, I've been taking my work to a local lab. I'm fortunate to be in close proximity to a good lab, not needing to send work away and pay for shipping as well.

However, I miss the craft, the follow-through and in essence full control over the outcome of visualising something and carrying it to print that part and parcel of printing ones own work. Printing the image is, for me by both education and philosophy not so much a separate function as the completion of visualisation.

I'm quite happy so far with the Epson Artisan 50. The largest prints I can generate are likely 8x10. I may be able to edge up on that to 8x14, we shall see. I've some thoughts on that, essentially trimming larger sheets to the width that this printer can handle. Larger prints than that will still need to go off to the lab for now. In the next year or two I should like to get a wide-format printer, yes, and there will still be top end size limits on what I shall print here. Really big prints will need to go to the lab.

Right now, it's time to head out for Evening Rounds. The Bros are waiting. So shall further exploration of printing, including some concepts for resuming silver emulsion printing here at Studio.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Once, oh really even more than twice or thrice I considered seriously the business of being a writer. The key word here is likely business because I said to myself I could be a writer 'when I grew up' with either the implicit thought or the explicit statement that writing should provide my income. My Dad to be fair never said no; on the other hand, he would then point out about writing for a newspaper or a magazine and working on my Magnum Opus after hours, on my own. Oddly enough while I often considered photography seriously as another potential, I didn't talk as much about it.

I asked one of my high school teachers (an English Literature teacher) to read and critique a manuscript for a short(ish) story I'd written. When I met with this teacher after a few days I brought some of my prints with me. My teacher asked to see the photographs before critiquing the manuscript. After looking them over, smiled and said, "I don't see the Spark in this writing. Sorry, but I don't. On the other hand, I see the Spark in these," and touched several of the prints.

Not sure I would say I wanted the Spark of Genius to be there in my writing and I won't say I didn't. That comment didn't discourage me from writing, believe it or not. Instead, it encouraged me to study writing and writers, in depth. Over time, I'd say my writing improved. Still not sure I see a Spark in it either, mind you; that's all right. I've gotten better.

What this all grows out of is that things around here in the Blog-o-Sphere places changed over the rather quite a few years I've been tapping electrons into order to represent words. It feels like fewer people are reading in the places I post. I know I'm posting less often. One of the key factors in the 'business' of anything is consistency, sticking at it, and I'm feeling the absence.

Now, mind, in the past few years I've also been fairly focused at Hospital, first on finishing up the Magic 30, and due to some changes just before hitting that Magic 30 paying pretty strong attention to what I did there. Also, there is a proverb from the Japanese I like, not going to try to quote the original here only the translation: Chase two rabbits, catch neither one.

And I did make a firm decision some time back, yes, my photography is the rabbit I want to catch. Want. My Dad once taught me pay attention to Want versus Like. If one should Like to receive something, do something, and yet it doesn't quite come to pass or not in the exact manner, this is OK, this is good. Want, on the other hand, involves something deeper. There are things, many things, one is willing to sacrifice when one Wants something.

I am willing to sacrifice writing. Oh, studying writing is and has been good. Dad also taught me (my first Art Teacher) to study other art medium, stretch and grow as an Artist. Just -- I am willing to sacrifice making a living of any sort with writing.

Sound sad? Not really.

I am also very clearly in the twilight of my Nursing career. That Magic 30 represents a milestone, and now there are three more years tacked onto that, during which I've cared for others as they needed it. Time runs its course, though, and Time is coming when I will no longer provide professional Nursing care. All along, I've worked on my photography, my art fill the time when I would no longer go to Hospital. So of course, as that time approaches (Perversity being what it is, thank you Oh My Friend Jed) the economy is in the outhouse and not many people are willing to spend what little Fun Money they may have on art.

But Wait.

Herself points out to me that it is, apparently, somewhat easy to begin teaching classes in what I often think of as Community Education; those after hours classes organised (often) by Community Colleges or other educational institutions for adults who are nominally done with school. And one of the things about Nursing, as any of my colleagues will tell you, is that education is an important part of the practice. Teaching patients about their health conditions, their medications, how to cope, how to stretch, grow, heal. Something I've been doing for 33 plus years now and so, not a big leap over to Community Ed.

Recently another acquaintance asked me about studio backdrops. And, um, well, yeah I can pass along a thing or three about studio backdrops. Probably about lighting too, though I'm still studying that on my own. Then again, I think it may of been Hokusai (Japanese woodblock print artist from the Tokugawa era) that said (roughly), "I have been studying diligently the representation of shape and light for some time now, and I believe if I continue to do so another 20 years I shall begin to show improvement." And basics of composition, exposure, and such.

Some of these I've been thinking to do as blog posts, since I do see this blog as a bit of a photoblog with images and discussion strewn about. Even doing that, not much of a leap still to developing classes on this.

Maybe I should stick around a bit longer. Maybe you should too.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
I missed posting here yesterday that [personal profile] wcg needed Hippie Birdbath wishes. So today it is Hippie Un-Birdbath.

I missed a whole week, in fact, due to connectivity problems here at the Ranch. We use a satellite connection to the Internet these days, because our land-line telephony provider took an excessively long time from a public promise date to actually provide DSL service to our rural area. The promise involved getting permission to raise their rates, overall, back following the '04 hurricane season. Then even when they did provide DSL to the area, the company persisted in insisting to me that they didn't, both via their web site and on service calls to a live person.

It's still somewhat up in the air as a matter of fact, something I'm discovering because with the end of the second year of our two year contract looming on the time-event horizon, I started investigating that DSL availability again.

However, that isn't what affected our connectivity issues here. At first I wondered if it involved that whole bit with the DNS Hackers announcement for Monday the ninth. Now following some trouble shooting I am leaning towards a bit simpler solution, technology. See, over the span of three days right around Monday Ninth July, we experienced a number of severe thunderstorms. During one of those storms across the span of 20 minutes or so we also experienced five interruptions in electrical service. The satellite modem and the wireless router both received their power through a surge protector, however even surge protectors will give it up to a nearby lightning strike.

And Houdini will tell you in no uncertain terms that the Sky Grumblers on that occasion hunted him quite earnestly. Some of those strikes occurred within a kilometer and a half or so.

Taking the router out of the loop restored the ability to connect to secure log-in sites. Things are still a tad slower than I'm used to, so it's possible the modem needs replacing too; I'll call the provider tech support line tomorrow and see about that. Meanwhile, the wireless router is gone, replaced for now with an ethernet switch. We weren't using the wireless anyway since the laptop died.

E-mail via a smartphone is good, so is browsing and reading. Posting via a smartphone isn't quite on the same level, though. So I lurked. A lot.

Getting ready for a photo session tomorrow, and working through pieces to go into Necronomicon this fall. Also time to register for the Williston Peanut Festival in October (not the same weekend as Necro). Session tomorrow will use the D70s, now back from the shop and all tuned up. Should be interesting. More later.
madshutterbug: (c)2006 by Myself (Remember)
Today is, in my part of the world, Memorial Day (Observed). I recall when this day was observed on the 31st of May; now it is always on the last Monday of May regardless, for a three-day weekend.

It started after the War Between the States, by any other name, as a means to remember the fallen in that war. It is now, by extension, to remember the fallen in any war.

And so I do.

Today we are getting wet in these parts of North Central Baja Jorja. What remains of Tropical Storm Beryl is now a tropical depression. Right at the moment we are between bands, though likely to get more rain today. This is a good thing, as we've been extraordinarily dry recently, as in draught dry.

Pretty fitting, I think.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
For those as knows.

And for others, yes, Houdini & I know where our towels are.

In other news, right thumb may not look like it yet is so far healing nicely. Employee Health at Hospital told me (not unexpected) that I can not do any direct patient care because with open wound can not do a proper hand-wash between patients. So I'm on enforced time off, there not being much non-patient care things to do that can't be done by others.

This led to a few more fairly light chore/projects getting worked on here on the Ranch, and a goodly chunk of exploring Picasa capabilities. The 'fun' things explored include the facial recognition and making Albums. An important feature identified is the ability to block images from being uploaded to the Web.

That latter item is important to me for two reasons, Picasa makes it extremely easy to upload (at least to Google/Picasa on-line) and there are rather a few people who've worked with me as models that prefer to maintain their anonymity. As in, not concerned about their photos being on-line yet not wanting their faces to show. No matter how careful one is about it during the session, some face still makes it into some photos. Sometimes by design, sometimes not. Again, these people don't mind this happening primarily because they trust me to honour the request. So being able to control image upload, that's a plus.

The facial recognition is amusing and educational. I've known facial recognition software is available and that there are a lot of uses for it. This is my first direct experience. Some of the intriguing aspects are that it will find faces in photographs or on televisions within a photo. Thus, someone could be 'in' a photo without actually being there.

Name suggestions come along once there are names available. This is both predictable and sometimes hilarious. I expected to encounter familial resemblance issues (and not just identical twins). Photos of myself, brother, and father occasionally come up with a close but not quite name suggestion. However, other similarities appear to come into play as well which at least to me leads to some chuckles.

I've got a big collection of photographs, not only my own. A good portion are images given to me by fellow artists/photographers. Another good portion are in my 'study book' category, downloaded over time, dating back to Usenet days. Some of the suggestions there (Is this Doozer? Is this Herself? Is this Anna Nomouse?) are ... curious.

When Picasa stopped scanning this collection for faces, the program told me it found over 50,000 recognisable faces. This includes multiple images of the same person. This does not include Border Collie Bros, Kittehs of the Apocalypse, or Otterz Mob. Only humans. A lot of them, I'm neither needing nor wanting to apply names. Fortunately, it is possible to 'Ignore' faces. Over the past few days, I've found several ways to view and classify, and whittled (carved!) that 50,000 down to a shade over 7,000 un-designated faces.

Additionally, I've started adding Albums. Picasa doesn't make photos, and it does provide the ability to directly manage files/folders on your storage (Danger Danger Will Robinson!) which makes it possible to delete images. Albums, however, are totally within Picasa, do not duplicate images, simply list them as belonging to the particular albums. Additionally, to more than one album. So, the People albums created when faces in images are listed ('Me', 'Herself', 'Anna Nomouse') are just that.

May serve. We'll see. There are some other options out there I may yet explore, primarily because those options will also offer other and more robust capabilities than Picasa does. Still, for free software, pretty intriguing and potentially useful.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Ow, Ow Again, And Other Choice Words

Yesterday I gave myself a bit of an evulsion injury to my right thumb while re-seating t-bar posts for Ms. Truffles Piggie. Actually debated at the time if I should simply go over to Williston. No stitching this down, though, too ragged on the edge. Cleaned out more or less immediately, finished setting posts, then to house and cleaned out more thoroughly. Dressed wound, dealt with birds and Bros, then re-dressed and off to pick up Herself from Market. Re-dressed again after unloading truck.

She's thinking this morning we need to get our tetanus boosters done. I am thinking so too.

Meanwhile, Picasa

I've been working with Picasa as mentioned before to learn can this serve my cataloging needs. Some interesting features, and some cataloging started. Thought I'd mentioned here how many copies of faces the facial recognition feature found (not individual people, individually recognisable faces which includes many pictures of some individuals). Probably did that on-line but I'm recalling upwards of 50,000 faces recognised. Sorting through them, either to put them into an album by name or to 'Ignore' the person I'm down to 23 – 24,000 plus/minus. Some interesting things:

1. Once names are added, Picasa will begin to suggest names for faces. Sometimes they are even the correct names. The more names in, the more suggestions made.
2. Some of the incorrect suggestions are often personally amusing.
3. It is possible to tell Picasa to ignore a face. Unfortunately, Picasa doesn't seem to put together that if there is a duplicate file in another folder, ignoring that face is still pertinent. I've got a large collection of images, going back to Usenet days.
4. Along with that, Picasa is able to recognise faces in thumb-nail size images in 'index file' composites ne. proof sheet type images. Even more faces, as perhaps not all those indexed images were collected...
5. For the few models with whom I've worked that requested anonymity and no face display, this is actually an interesting tool to reveal where there are images with too much recognition.

Also, downloaded GIMP. I know there is at least one person on my lists here that's used GIMP. Refresh my memory so I can tag you for info, eh?
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
1. Holding pen refurbished, smaller, with shade shelter and water for both sides of drive road.
2. Kids rounded up, sold and transported.
3. Half of Old Hog Pen panels taken down. Old Hog Pen cleaned out slightly, scraps of treewood stacked to burn. Next old pen over panels removed. Single panel ready to excavate.
4. Fence patched & wrapped on drive road side of Horse Paddock, divided pen. The rest of that fence is... needing work and the inside fence to simply come down and go away.
5. Gate at west end of new Buck Pen mounted, and functional. Keeps the Bros in when they go that way to avoid goats while starting rounds.
6. Hospital Pen refurbished using panels from old extension of holding pen and another two to replace hog panels we were using.
7. Hog panels stacked closer to current hog pens. (To be used in near future when selected hogs change their professions...)
8. Prints matted and mounted to increase Studio 318 booth inventory. Increased knowledge and skills on cutting mats. Increased understanding of needs for matting work station.
9. Zucchini Festival show accomplished.
10. Bird cage for fledgling dirtyardbirds completed, fledglings moved in, second round of biddies moved into their old holding cage, new Millifleuer biddies brought home from Caprihaven.
11. Avian Prison high wire wrapped and mounted. Water cans for additional bigger chicken tillers and Prison acquired and put into service.
12. Water hardware acquired, some put into service.
13. Major Dump Run.

Pretty durn busy, was I.

For the 24 years we've been living here, I take our un-recycled or un-recycleable refuse to the dump. Today, while doing that, fellow from the truck that pulled in next to me asked if I was from Chiefland. No, not from Chiefland, yet we determined that the Ranch is inside the territory he and his partner cover as garbage haulers. Handed me a flyer for their services. Hat's off to entrepeneurship. However, at $65 a Quarter for weekly pickup, when it costs me usually $14 per run and usually every other month (so, one per two Quarters and two per two Quarters) I am also going to pass.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Friday headed out shortly after making the previous entry, including the stand in the car. The trip is approximately (plus/minus less than a mile) 70 miles round trip. Setup took very little time for me, as the pavilion is easy. Up and staked down before D showed up. Helped him set up their brand new pavilion. Then home.

Saturday morning up at 05:00, out and packing up by 05:20, on the road by 06:10 which isn't bad considering Herself hadn't yet done her jewelry packing. She was busy baking. Loaded up her two entries for the Cook a Zucch contest as well, and made it to site in good time to off-load and set up before opening. Bit of help for a couple things on D & B's pavilion, with two banners up for Caprihaven Goats and Kuma's Playpen Ranch. Both the ladies came later because they took care of the respective family farm/ranch establishments. Gotta feed those goats, eh.

Summary of the rest of the day: this event does pull a big local crowd. We'd heard around 4000 attendees as their estimate, and I'll go with that. Saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. KP Ranch and Caprihaven Goats did a really good business, with the first round of assorted savory zucchini breads Herself sent along being quite nearly sold out before she arrived near noon. And, sold out of the remainder before the end of the day, plus a big portion of the two styles of cookies she made (oatmeal zucchini chocolate chip, and zucchini chocolate chip) as well as the Zucchini Brownie Bites. Less of those sold, though.

Also, Herself and B entered items into the Cook a Zucch contest, as mentioned. B entered into candies with a dish made with zucchini and goats milk. Herself entered larger loaves of two of her savory zucchini breads, Zucchini Bread with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Bacon Bits and Goats Cheese and Zucchini Bread with Red Crushed Bell Peppers and Goats Cheese. Both ladies received Third Place ribbons in their categories. Herself received ribbons for each bread, because the folks running the contest decided the Bacon Bits loaf is an Appetizer while the Bell Peppers a bread.

Studio 318 made booth fee with the sale of one print of Dryad Dreams, and a matched set beaded necklace and earrings. That's our exciting news.

Enjoyed the event for all that, and there are plans already for next year. Along with the two sales, did get to visit with a lot of people, helped one not really a photographer with a problem with the camera he was using. I say not really because he told me he works with a local radio station that covers the event and they'd sent him around with this camera to take some publicity photos. Camera stopped taking pictures, built-in flash wouldn't pop up. Not that familiar with a Canon Rebel, but I told him to turn it off (He says, I already tried that) and pop the battery out and back in.

He did, and it worked.

Houdini is now telling me that after a week of Stays Home Days he is quite upset that I went away All Day yesterday, and is staying right next to me, no matter where I go. Today I need to send myself, or otherwise update the inventory file, and catch up with some other book keeping. In between doing laundry, probably.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Moon Day

Sold some kids on Monday. Specifically 13 doelings from our herd, and 1 buckling at 4 months from B's herd. The refurbished holding pen worked OK, though still a bit big and we wound up trapping the doelings in the corner opposite the gate. On the other hand, as small as they are this worked OK to snag and hand-carry them into his trailer. Also, we both are convinced we counted at least 14 doelings in there when we moved them on Sunday; however, small as some may have been one could have slipped between a gap in panels. The buckling loaded up without much fuss at all; people there, two doelings already in the trailer, he'd just been in a trailer, he may have seen other goats getting into trailers. No worries, no matter what. So he only came to stay with us for 2-3 days max.

Ranch chores and a run into Williston to Sparr for ranch related equipment before that. I got a second hose to put out by the buck pen so we can stop driving over the other hose, plus a wye to help with that. Plus a light chain to be the latch on the west end buckling pen gate, and a couple clips to hold the gate on the holding pen (now not immediately needed but will free up the lighter clips there). And a roll of 2x4 wire fabric to be the tops and bottoms of Dirty Yardbird Tillers, since we've got chicks hatching both here and at Beth's, and other birds that need containment to keep the Garden safe. Herself didn't go to Tioga Market yesterday for the combination of working on cages and then the kid roundup. She also gave me $100 back from the kid sales to cover the tiller supplies purchases. I've tucked that into Studio money. Shameless of me, I know. Vicarious as well. It really needs to be deposited into the Ranch checking account. Later.

Got started on the matting and mounting in the afternoon, after Ranch chores and interrupted by the Roundup. I figured Monday to be primarily setup and organisation day and this proved to be mostly true. Big table set up, by the window, mat cutter laid out on it. Counted up all the prints on hand needing mounts and mats, measured to help determine mat size. Three prints of my work with small white margins top and bottom worked nicely in a pre-cut double-mat, so those are now mounted and matted though not sleeved yet. Working on the matting will give me indications what I need to help with this process.

Then another run to Williston for very light groceries (wound up at Winn Dixie though initially planned on Hitchcock's) and pizza for dinner.

Sun Day

On Sunday I fired up Picasa (Google's 'free' image organisation/editing/uploading software) as I'm checking it out to see how well it suits my needs for organisation. One of the features is that Picasa will scan through the designated photograph library and apply facial recognition algorithms to 'suggest' names. The package prefers to go to on-line contact lists, but will take manual entry. I opted for the latter.

In the library I apparently am able to claim something along the order of 50-60 thousand recognisable faces. Recognisable is a relative term on two counts. There are some blurry pics in there (either the primary subjects themselves, or in the background) which make it hard for me to identify who they are, and faces in sculptures as well. George and teh Boys, my Bro-in-Law's reference for Mount Rushmore, for example provided George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and there are some other sculptures in my library as well as people wearing masks.

Once the names are listed, while continuing to work Picasa will then provide a batch of suggestions: Is this George Washington? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and the latter are occasionally humourous.

One thing I will be extremely cautious about is the batch upload feature. Since there are more than a few people who've modeled for me that wish to retain anonymity, or who commissioned me for private works (that are still within my library, as part of my portfolio since I retain the right to use those private works in reference display for other private commissions), there are photographs I do not want uploaded.

In short, the jury is still out on Picasa as an image file management tool.

Day. Oh.

Apr. 26th, 2012 08:30 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Tried connecting to the WildBlue (my sky internet provider) to pay the bill. Sit can not load, a re-direct loop. After a round of calls to WildBlue support, the result is they say it's all on my side and probably my antivirus software. They also said, don't pay the bill within three days before or after the cycle date though not why I shouldn't. I suspect more bugs in their software. Now I receive an e-mail that my bill is ready to be viewed. However, I've not tried viewing it yet this morning. While service is fairly good, this whole business about billing and payments started going a bit sour last year when an upgrade to their billing software wouldn't allow my payment to be made.

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 07:53
Did try to access the Manage Wild Blue site, still can't get there due to redirect error. Cleared off cookies again (though not All Cookies).

Today's session with S is most probably rescheduled due to family needs. May or not come by to look at photos from previous session and discuss those, this we talked about briefly in an IM session but isn't totally clear to me. If yes, great. If not, great. I will work on things for the Ranch and photograph the monitor another round, though I'm not sure which camera I'll use yet. I am currently charging the second battery for the D70s. Been almost a week since I got it back from the shop and I've still not made photographs with it. So I may change that today, though it will be a good thing also to do the second round of this monitor with the D3000 for continuity of equipment. Then change up cameras for the second monitor.

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 16:36
Windsor Zucchini Festival
We are confirmed for the May 12 Windsor Zucchini Festival in booth # 44. The Caprihaven & KP Ranch folks (us) will be in booth # 45. Go team! This event benefits the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. Doesn't mean they get a portion of my proceeds. Means my booth fee benefits the Volunteer Fire Department.

Daily Progress
Feed delivered, check written. Hog feed unloaded into barrel; we needed to go purchase a bag of alfalfa pellets as they were left off the order. About to go out to store the cow feed. Then we should contemplate pouring at least one barrel of goat I suppose. Gate at the west end of Kid Paddock is now mounted on post; panel is tied off to post and I should most likely set a t-bar there and tie off to that as more secure. We will see; an alternative is to re-set the entire line of panels and start at the gate post end.

No photography work other than this morning sorting through some files and then clearing the card in the point & shoot. Still, all in all a good day.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Saturday, April 21, 2012, 14:57

Wrapping up the day at Hospital, my cell rang from Flair Lab. My D70s came back from the shop, cleaned up, tuned up, firmwared up, and costing a mere $320 to get out of hock. I stopped on the way home to do that. Still not fired it up for photographs, however, I did put one of the batteries into it. Needs a lens. And a subject. I priced, but did not purchase, a Secure Digital to Compact Flash conversion card for the D70s. They cost $30. Compact Flash are still available out there, though more camera companies are switching over to Secure Digital. SD are smaller, I expect this is why. Card speeds are coming up and this is one potential drawback of which I was unaware. SD cards are 'slower' than CF cards. One way the companies overcome this is to put two SD slots into the camera (I've seen this).

For my Studio work, this is probably not a problem. Just make me slow down a bit. For action photography, say the New Kids kinds of shooting, this could be a problem. Except, according to the fellow at Flair, that's why the companies are putting two cards into new cameras.


I didn't wake Herself for Market this morning. In retrospect, she expected me to do so. On the other hand, she didn't set her own alarm. And weather was fine for the market hours, so would have been a good day. On the other hand, we got things done here on the Ranch. The egg incubator is cleaned out (at least preliminary clean). The gate post for the short gate at the west end of the Youngster Pen is set. Will hand the gate tomorrow, I expect. And I set a post to be one of the corners of Herself's garden, up near our private road and defining on which side to park a motor home/recreational vehicle. Started laundry by working on a quilt, then one of the yard bird comforter covers. There's a blanket needs put in next. And the phone just reminded me it's time to go check.

I might shut computer down in a bit. Thunder outside. We will see.

Saturday, April 21, 2012, 17:21
More Saturday

Sorting through stacks of envelopes and such on my desk; taking things to the shredder or the files. More going to the shredder than to the files, which is fine. Herself is using shredded paper as bedding for the chicks indoors holding, waiting to be big enough to move back outdoors in larger digs.

Saturday, April 21, 2012, 19:18
Still More Saturday

Still sorting through old envelops incoming mail, some of which is tax-related and much of which wasn't. Anything not tax-related went through the shredder or into the trash, with a few pieces saved for some reason. Very few, though. Unearthed a small handful of calendars I kept because of the photography on them. Bagged up the paper shreds because as mentioned we need to change bedding for a clutch of new chicken chicks, and shredded paper makes very good bedding for them. In between all of this, at measured intervals, also walked over to Studio 318 and the laundry room to do laundry. That's an ongoing chore, more to finish up tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012, 08:04
Morning is for Coffee

Rain persisted through the night, mostly unnoticed as I slept. Still, woke once and lay there wondering why, when I heard one long, low rumbling peal of thunder. Within 10 seconds Mr. Houdini joined me in the bed. Herself told me later she heard him come skittering out of the kitchen, so she suspects he went to steal kitty kibbles. Says, that's what happens when stealing kitty kibbles, the Sky Grumblers come looking for you...

We received maybe 1.25 cm/0.5inch rain. Some thunder (see above) in the distance, enough to make Border Collie Bros anxious and not enough to threaten equipment. So I never did shut down the computer last afternoon or evening. When I got into the office this morning, music still playing, though quietly. Nice way to start the day. Music and Coffee.


Apr. 16th, 2012 07:50 am
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
I've spent this morning finding the websites of the handful or so of artists whose cards I snagged yesterday. It's networking. What? It is. I'm doing this on the 'net so it's networking. No, SRSLY! I mean, now I've got an idea how to bundle and price a set of greeting or note cards, eh?

Of course, I need to make such cards first. So much to do. Time, time, time, that's always the end of the line on questions. I've known this for years, because for those same years I've said I sell my time to Hospital, and that's how I make a living, and while knowledge and skills are valuable, they are so in part because that is what makes our time valuable to sell.

It's no surprise to me (continuing in this vein of selling time as it were) that the income, whatever amount, from Herself taking our Ranch produce of various and sundry to Farmers Markets is more consistently bringing in income than either of our artworks do. And she is an artist, not only photography also beadwork and semi-precious stone jewelry. She packs that along betimes to Farmers Markets as well, though less than once she did. With the Ranch Produce, we compete for the Grocery Money. That always comes before spending the Fun Money, because first we need to eat to even have fun.

Meanwhile, back at The Ranch...

It's a bit of a sideline thought here. I've pretty much kept things like employers, geographical references, and even our names under a layer of 'privacy' in public. This is fine in one sense, counterproductive in another when one is starting to promote ones artwork. At least, promoting the viewing and (hopefully) sale of such in Physical Space rather than Ethernet Space.

Employer, Hospital, will remain such. There are a lot of reasons why and only one is the whole fracas, if you're not familiar with it, of people posting things about their employers or fellow employees on social networking sites that results in their being dismissed from employment. I find it marvelously ironically humourous that Hospital on the one hand tells employees to remove Hospital's name from their 'Works At' field on Facebook, yet maintains several Facebook accounts of its own to communicate with employees.

The Ranch, now, and Baja Jorja, and all, that's a different thing. The Ranch is Kuma's Playpen Ranch. Seems a silly name, sometimes, and so sometimes I call it KP Ranch. Kuma the Rottweiler is the namesake; I mean, doesn't everyone buy some land in the country so their dog finds room to run? So we made the place his Playpen for running and playing and yes, even some working because Rottweilers are Herd Dogs, if you didn't know. Cattle herders, they are, descendants of cattle herding dogs the Roman Legions brought with them to bring the fresh meat the Legionaires would need.

Kuma's Playpen is located in rural North Central Baja Jorja, and thank you to my friend Bet Noir for that one; she knows how accurate a description 'Southern Georgia' is for this part of North Central Florida. Distintive traits, yes, and yet a strong blending with a lot of the characteristics of the next state due north of us. After all, hop into a car and drive north from Kuma's Playpen and in about an hour, hour and a half you'll be crossing the Florida-Georgia border.

The Internet, which by definition is net-working and the source of the whole concept of people working together to accomplish goals, can make it possible for someone located geographically in Rural North Central Baja Jorja (OK, Fine, I Just Like Saying Baja Jorja) able to provide certain products or services even internationally. So yes, looking up web sites that other artists established is networking.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, the morning coffee is pretty much consumed and the Horses, Goats, Hogs and Dirty Yard Birds (Chickens) are waiting for breakfast noms. Time to get dressed and go network with the livestock.
madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Wrapped up feeding the Ranch around 09:30 – 10:00 and we hit the road to the Festival about 11:00 or so. Didn't check arrival time specifically however knowing the travel time to that part of town, we arrived around 11:45. According to the publicity the show opened on Sunday at 10:00, and yet we walked past more than several booths not open by the time we got there. Met D & B there, while walking about and as expected following a phone call earlier while feeding the birds. Actually saw rather a few other people we (or I) know as well, no surprises at all.

My primary purpose was to look at Display. Both the manner of presenting the artwork itself, and the pavilion booth shelters. To the latter, we saw a fair amount of EZUp, and a lot of LightDome, plus a smattering of others. We made notes on a couple of those, and I've followed up looking for one of them. Site is book-marked, company is Undercover, and their setup is very intriguing.

Many of the artists are using the rigid styles of display. The carpet covered ones are common. Mesh walls are next most common, and the LightDome company sells walls. LightDome is interesting because they are in Ocala, so local. There is a change (one artist mentioned this) they may rent pavilions if someone is interested in trying them out. Quite a few artists made their own displays. These ranged from folding louvered doors to hard flats from 2x2 covered in luann door-skin ply. Most artists are using some type of rigid bin for matted work display/sale. Possibly a dozen used the folding racks of some style.

Interestingly enough, nearly all the pavilions at this show are set up very similar to what we did at Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival. To whit, open to the street, with some variation of both side walls and the back wall set up for display of hanging art. A lot of the back walls had openings, and back awnings on their pavilions for shade and a place for the artist to store additional stock as needed. We've known for quite some time we need something like this for showing in Baja Jorja. While it wasn't extraordinarily hot today, it did get hot (temps when we left Hoggetowne 30-ish C high 80's F). Hot enough, in fact, that contributed to our fatigue. Needed more fluid intake, we did. Bad us.

Notably, perhaps as much as 14% of the Santa Fe Show booth space (call it 100 of 700 possible booth spaces) were empty. This, for one of the major Southeast and definitely one of the major Florida shows, and I don't remember ever going before and seeing this many empty spaces. I stipulate it's been about five years or more since I've gone. And while we did see some people walking about with bags holding purchases, we did not see a lot of them.

We didn't buy anything other than lunch ourselves. Bad us. What we did see, often, were card sets made by the artists with their own work. I think you know what I'm referring to; mailing cards, thank you cards, thinking about you cards, those things. Something we've been thinking to make as well. For, say, $5 one gets a sample of the piece one admired, plus perhaps some others, and in something potentially 'useful' as in more than looking at and enjoying.

Considering this show, a juried show with a reputation for being one of the best, as mentioned, in the Southeast, and Florida in particular, to be that empty... quite a sign of the times. People aren't buying art, they're buying groceries (justifiable – I've said before I know I'm competing for the 'beer money' not the grocery money or the housing money). Thing is, I've had it in my head that this show is a challenge to get into, and I walked away from this year thinking, hey, could-a should-a. However, no regrets, as I'm not of a mind that I'm truly ready for such a show, if only for the amount of inventory to be able to set up and (potentially) sell. However, I am now thinking that next year will be the time to make my first attempt at getting into this show.

Moon Day

Apr. 2nd, 2012 07:46 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)
Today's meanderings:

Jump Drives
I own five. One I take to Hospital and use for work-related files. It's home today being cleaned up slightly. The others I keep home for various uses, usually though not exclusively taking files to Herself's PC for printing, since there isn't a printer connected to my PC. Running through all of those drives today refreshing my memory as to what's on them, and clearing things off of some of them. I'm debating about switching out the one I take to Hospital because the current one the lanyard holder is broken. May not though.

One of the home drives is work-related data, with backups elsewhere, and I think I should burn it to a disk anyway and then clear that drive for other use. It is a 1 Gb drive with a retractable port card.

One of the home drives is a small one, 66 Mb or so. This one is very handy for moving things for printing, as since space is limited that's about all it's good for. This one is also a 'give-away' from a convention (probably HIMMS in Orlando some time ago) and thus is Logo Labeled for the company that gave it away. There may be another one of this type around here, different company, still in the gift box.

One is a 4 Gb drive with a broken case. The chip card still works. I keep saying I need to make a new case for it, something Steampunk. Hasn't happened yet.

The last is another 1 Gb with retractable port card. I use this one a fair amount as well, assorted data on it primarily photographic work related. There is some (or, by the time I'm done, was some) work-related data which I'm archiving.

Photograph Organisation
I very much need to work on this, in terms of disk storage space, cataloging, knowing what is print-ready and what isn't, and in general getting a better handle on what I've got available for different projects without working on searching a great deal. To this end, I've worked with several applications, possibly five and will address this as I go: ACDSee, Adobe (2 apps), Nikon and Picasa.

ACDSee®, the version I've used, is frankly pirated. It's an older version, requires a serial number to install (available on the CD), and provides for a fair amount of my needs. The application provides a designated number of 'Catalogs', and allows for adding a fairly unlimited number within those hard-coded names. Category and KeyWord assignment is unlimited, and Search-able. Within this structure it is possible then to build a Catalog “Print-Ready” and list those files that are print-ready without duplicating files. It comes with an image editor, which I experimented with yet used very little.

Adobe provides two applications one of which very much so provides cataloging capabilities, the other which provides for some cataloging. The former is Elements®. The version of Elements that I used ran into a limitation on the Catalog of a maximum number of records. Reaching that number resulted in the specific Catalog freezing and becoming inaccessible. Most annoying, and resulted in my ceasing to use that version. There are newer versions since then which I've not tried. Other than that major flaw, the program provided for unlimited Catalogs (in fact, that is one work-around for the flaw, requiring a limitation to the size of a Catalog and to load that Catalog file when needed), Category and KeyWord assignment and Search. Elements provides nearly all the same editing capabilities as Photoshop® though often under different menu structure.

Photoshop® version 7 does provide a File Browser which, within the application, opens a window to browse files. Select one and get a thumbnail view with some of the file information as well. However, there is no Catalog, no Category, no KeyWord or Search. I do use Photoshop for nearly all my file editing and manipulation. Newer versions, bundled in Creative Suite, I think combine in the Elements cataloging features and I've contemplated upgrading for this reason amongst others.

Nikon ViewNX® is rather crucial to my work because of the abilities it does provide, yet it does not provide much in the way of a Catalog. Categories and KeyWord assignment are a feature, and these labels go into the basic file information within the file itself. Most of the previously mentioned applications will see that data, and might even use it. The data definitely goes with the files when uploaded to on-line viewer sites.

Picasa® is essentially from Google and may provide for my cataloging needs. I am still early on the learning curve for this software, and am concerned that it may not be quite what I either want or need. As an application it is designed to easily interface with on-line Picasa (Google's on line image storage viewing system); it may also interface with Flickr, but I am not sure. I do recall seeing in the Help files (the only manual available) that it is possible to make 'Collections' which are data-base entries, not file duplications. So, I could make a Collection 'Print-Ready' and start putting the print-ready photographs into that Collection for future search and use.

Monday Chores
Pretty much went out to work shortly after the previous note, and following feeding and watering ate lunch (right on about noon anyway). After noon, went and worked laundry and during first load, cut eight mat board blanks to 16x20 inches. These are to be backing boards for pieces going into the 16x20 pre-cut mats we've got, meaning 11x14 prints if I have any on hand.

Herself needed the front left side tire either re-inflated or the tube placed; I opted to put in one of the tubes purchased over last summer for this reason. Proved to be more of a chore than I think it should have been. No tire irons to be found even the little ones from my bicycle tool kit. Enough of an aggravation on both parts that Herself packed up rather angry and didn't pack several things she'd want. Argh. Then again, that is partially related to our getting rained on during break-down of Haile Farmers Market on Saturday, and setting the kit out to dry yesterday, then not re-assembling the kit.

I got the tube in, inflated and tire re-mounted before she left, she helped get the tractor off the blocks. Checked the right rear tire for pressure, needed air. Put that in, re-parked car, then tried starting tractor. Nada. Nothing. No juice. Took battery out and put it on charger. I'm thinking, none the less, it's time to replace that battery. Nigh on three years old, two hard and one mild winter with the two hard ones it not being kept charged and going flat.

Thus is my day more or less complete. Feel free to comment or not, though I definitely will appreciate any feedback on the photo organisation software issue.

Long Day

Mar. 19th, 2012 08:58 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)
Long day working on photographic related things, not photography directly. After morning rounds, that is, which today include stopping to get to know Ms. Truffles. Ms. Truffles is a young blue-back sow who came to live with us from a friend who discovered that the Homeowners Association that covers their bit of Rural Heaven does not allow swine.

She's quite mellow, a big difference from the hogs we've been dealing with for a while. Then again, those hogs are 50-50 crosses to the wild Florida hogs, and they show it in appearance and attitude. Not so much domesticated, as contented, mostly.

After Rounds, on to photographic work which isn't photography...

First, set up the pavilion booth to double check that the new wall support is working the way I anticipated. It is, at least 90% so we'll fly with it this weekend and see. Then struck the booth and started working on mounting and matting a new batch of prints. Discovered I'm off on my inventory of mats for 8x12 prints by, well, I don't have any. So, none of the new 8x12 prints will be in the show this weekend. That's OK, There's a goodly amount of 8x10 additional, plus all the existing inventory, so it's slowly growing.

Now we simply need to sell some to help pay for more.

So. A bit of a break from what's been my major motif for a while. If y'all are in the North Central Baja Jorja area a.k.a. North Central Florida, Alachua County or near enough to make the drive worth while, this weekend is the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Spring Garden Festival. Besides being a major event for any of you plant growers, there will also be a lot of other vendors there.

In Booth #138 will be Studio 318, Fine Art Photography and Earth Jewelry. Y'all come on over, now, hear?


Mar. 10th, 2012 07:31 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Tonight is the night to 'Spring Ahead' into Daylight Stupid Time. The one big non-advantage to me specifically is tonight I work a Midnight shift at Hospital, and this means it will be a mere seven hours there, instead of eight. On the other hand, I'll get paid for seven hours, not eight. Hence non-advantage. Less time awake and trying to be functional at a time of day my body rebels, but less pay.

Ah well.

I won't continue to rant on about Daylight Stupid Time. I expect y'all can figure out my position on it by the personal name for it.

Slowly working through the new prints and the Mount/Mat/Label/Sleeve routine. This is the boring, yet necessary side of Photographic Art as a business. Onward.

Just now, though, it's time for dinner before Hospital.
madshutterbug: (c)2005 by Myself (Weather Good)
We got a fair amount of both last night. Houdini, who's been rather happy of late to spend the nights outdoors, let me know he wanted to be close to me in the afternoon yesterday. So he stayed inside overnight. Squrrl braved the weather... inside his dome home.

Probably about an inch / 2.5 cm of rain, actually. Enough and strong enough wind to move some of the goat feed pans a lot further out into the paddock. Several of the bird shelters 'lost' their roof. It's a bit euphamistic, actually, as their roofs are either plastic corregated board or old shower curtains laid onto the wire fabric.

Today, still blustery, yet clear. Very high cirrus clouds, mostly clear sky, extremely blue. That 'The Sky Just Got Washed' clear blue.

Also, apparently, with three weeks notice, I will be in the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Spring Garden Festival. Good thing I got those prints made and picked up on Friday. Will be needing those.


Feb. 7th, 2012 07:40 pm
madshutterbug: (C) 2005 S Grossman (Stalking_Elusive_Photograph)
Herself and I are 25 today.

At this time, on that day, our combined families and some select guests gathered in her parents suite at the hotel where we held our reception for a Gift Opening party. Tonight's dinner will be served on the stonewear plates we received that day.

Some time later, when those festivities wound down, my side of the immediate family loaded into three autos and set off to Skeeters. Long time residents of Hoggetown will remember Skeeters as a great place to get breakfast. 24/7. Home of the Big Biscuit.

I remember my brother John playing Fire Drill at three different stoplights on the way. And the surprise on two siblings faces when they ordered the Big Biscuit. Even though we told the it truly was The Big Biscuit.

Little over a year later, we purchased KP Ranch  Still here. Nine dogs (not counting the few we sold), nine cats (not counting the few we sold) and a couple 2-3 hundred goats later (counting the 160-200 or so we sold) still here. About paid off. Still complicated, still fun, still real.
madshutterbug: (C) 2005 S Grossman (Stalking_Elusive_Photograph)
Studio 318 now prepped, but for two things, for a session this coming Thursday. The two things are, hanging the side curtain, and plugging in the lights, which ever lights I use.

Briefly, today, we counted an extra cow in the pasture. However, Owner Thereof came up and told me the cow was there before I noticed. Offered to sell me the cow. I declined. Any cow which suddenly appears inside a fenced pasture means either that cow found a down spot which must be fixed, or that cow cleared the fence. Since Owner Thereof told me he'd seen the cow clear the fence coming in...

Cow cleared the fence going out too. All our cows remain. In fact, their behaviour regarding the interloper almost seems to say, 'Bovine, you brought Strangers on Horses into our domain. You are a troublemaker. Go away.'

As of this morning, we are up to 30 kids in this kidding.

I did not go to Tioga Town Centre Farmers/Craft Market this evening. Two reasons, not feeling the greatest (see previous about sinus congestion) and working on Studio. Good thing I didn't, as that is when Owner Thereof showed up.

Oh. ETA: And, sometime in the past couple days, I renewed my Flickr account so I can see all my photos there again.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
I may not of done exactly what was on the To Do list today when I went to bed yesterday. I'd thought to do a recycle run, hauling our plastic recycling to the drop-off. I also had Studio Time on the list for today. The latter I put off to tomorrow. The former didn't happen.

Morning rounds got done, no worries, and then the Bros enjoyed some water sports after feeding everyone. Touch up on some laundry, lunch, then out to the work shed. Built it about 12 years ago to be my workshop, it turned into a storage shed some time after that. Now I'm hauling storage out and cleaning up. Getting the place ready to once again be a work shop. Rather a bit of work to get there in one sense. I never did bring power to the place earlier. This is fine. I've different plans for that now.

And even clearing the bit of space I've done meant space to work on one tool. We purchased a new weed trimmer, a 'weed wacker' a couple months back to replace old dead one. Old dead one is a cheap and 2-cycle engine model. New one is a 4-cycle engine, a bit quieter, and with exchangeable work heads. Came with the string attachment for weeds and edging. Purchased a brush cutter blade as well in the past couple weeks, mounted that today to clear the last stretches of Herself's garden needing clearing from the summer overgrowth.

Now she can run the mower on the yard tractor through the same zones, and then we can fire up the tiller. Winter Garden time, eh.

Another reason for getting the work shop up and running again is related to the art. Custom framing is bloody expensive. Looks good, and bloody expensive. It is possible to shop around, both in retail and at yard sales or flea markets, for frames to handle pieces with mat sizes up to 16x20 inches / 40.5x51 cm, and for those frames to look good. Or at lest, not horrible. However, working with prints that start at that 40x50 cm size and the matting around them is that much bigger, and the frames start looking... not so great. Except, of course, for custom frames. Which are bloody expensive. In case you didn't hear me the first time.

In my tool collection there are a number of right-angle clamp sets, including three specifically for making frames. Herself's Mother Mary gave me a radial arm saw about six months before her death; she knew she wouldn't be using it and knew I could. Also in the inventory is an item called a ShopSmith; it's a multi-purpose power tool which I inherited from my father. So, table saw, disk sander, lathe, drill press. Perhaps none of them as potent as a design-dedicated tool, yet the one tool brings all four to my space limited shop. Two other recent acquisitions add a great deal of versatility to my inventory, a wide belt sander (floor mount) and a big compressor. Air powered tools, hooyah!

So. I've a roof and walls providing 192 square feet / 17.8 square metres. This I built with an eye to expansion in one direction for enclosure, and another direction to shelter items, even if not directly accessible from the shop. First, clear the floor, clean it up, and resume working with the hand tools. Second, lean-to roof off the south side, shelter for equipment. There I will build a 'closet' for the compressor, outside the shop proper for sound control. There also, I shall put one of our portable generators and provide power, initially, from this. First item to be wired is, of course, that air compressor. That facilitates the rest of the construction/additions.

Today may not of involved a recycling run. It is still an accomplished day, with trash cleared from the shop (even with more to go), and tools up and running. There's more to go - it is a never ending story. Still and all, we are also coming into the Winter months, and while Winter here in North Central Baja Jorja is no where near the experience of the Northern States or Canada it is the time I get the most accomplished outside.

So. Feel free to ask me, come April or May, if I've not mentioned it sooner, if I indeed completed the refurbishment of the workshop, and am I indeed making frames, or even, yanno, posing benches for the Studio.

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