The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Archive for November, 2011

One Year Ago

Because of work and other obligations I had last week, this post is unfortunately late and archived. Exactly one year ago today, I went to visit an obscure park not so far from my home. My father found it driving home from work one day and suggested I check it out. The park was mostly pines and some drying prairie. Pretty much everything was sitting dormant waiting for the winter. I never got around to editing or posting these shots untill now.

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Next Week: Archive or Controls

Controls as in dials, knobs, buttons, and thingamabobs.

Fake Flowers

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Nature should be pleased. When we can’t have real flowers, we make them out of plastic and fabric. Such imitations are strewn around my room, arranged in vases and small baskets. When I was little, I had this truly impractical fantasy about living in a garden. My decor shows that I’ve not totally abandoned this idea.

Yes, the fake flowers are pretty, and you can arrange them in cute little groups. 

However, I sometimes wonder if creation should be offended by our poor shadows of its glory.

It’s cheap, it’s plastic, the edges are frayed, and the centers are never quite right.

On the flip side, you don’t notice all of that from a distance. They’re colorful, they’re pretty, and they’re going to be in my room for many more months or years. I jut have to make sure I don’t let them collect dust.


Next Week: Nature Archive or Thanksgiving

Due to the fact that I’m working most days this week (including Black Friday) it will probably be archive either of a park I went to last year or some real flowers.


My Adventures in Stock Photography

I tried the TV experiment, and I didn’t get anything a kid couldn’t do accidentally. The need for more research was evident. So I thought I would share a brief history of my experiment in stock photography to this point. Honestly, I haven’t gotten far, so I can tell you more what not to do than what to do. If you are reading this and know more than I do, please leave a comment with advice or correction.

1. Don’t try to start with iStock

You will only depress yourself if you do. Many stock sites require you to submit samples of your work in order to become a contributor. iStock requires you to submit 3, all of which must pass. If only 1 passes, you can just submit 2 more. However, you must wait increasingly long intervals between attempts. I think I quit at 3-6 months. It can go up to a year, and I’m afraid of what happens after that. Start with a site like Bigstock or Fotolia to get your feet wet. They don’t require initial approval. If you turn in 10 and only 1 meets their criteria, you are a contributor and you can turn in more any time you want.

2. Just because it wasn’t accepted doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just because it was accepted doesn’t mean it’s good.

Early on, I got a lot of rejections stating my photographs were not the right subject matter or composition for stock. Look at other stock (this is a good use of iStock) and keep trying. It comes with time. On the same note, if you wouldn’t want it in your portfolio, don’t turn it in. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but that brings me to my third point.

3. Personal quotas have their pros and cons.

Read any forum for stock photographers and you’ll be told it’s a numbers game. I have a tiny portfolio. I haven’t sold a thing. Every so often, I think “Let me shoot 10 images for stock today. Maybe I could do that 5 days a week.” Well, I am new to stock, and it’s not the only think in my life right now. I am looking for work, sometimes working, volunteering, and living with other people. I need to help with housework and pet care every so often. Not very many of those 10 a day made it through retouching to be turned in. Even fewer were accepted. Later, I set a goal of 15 in a week. If I had experience and better equipment, that might be reasonable. I don’t. I turned in 15, and I regret some of them every time I go to my Bigstock portfolio. See if you can guess which ones. Quantity is good, but so is quality. I set the goal at 10 a week. If I don’t have a goal, I’ll never do anything.

4. You don’t NEED expensive lighting equipment.

It would be nice, especially on cloudy days and at night. However, I take most of my photos using an open window and a large piece of white paper board, maybe a mirror. I’ve had some luck using old photography lamps that take standard lightbulbs. You might also try a desklamp. As the days grow shorter, I’m working on using my speedlight to create ambience I can use instead of the window.

My Portfolios:

My next goal: Shutterstock. This is the big brother of Bigstock. It requires initial approval of 7 out of 10 images. You can try again every month. Last time, I was only 2 shots short of acceptance. I’m also looking to have a portfolio of 100 shots on Bigstock by the end of January.


Next Week: Fake Flowers and Imitation as Flattery

I was just thinking that I’m not going to see many real flowers for quite a while, so I decided to take a close look at the fakes. Maybe a very close look.

Fall Leaves

It’s November, and it’s been windy out. In my area, that means most of the leaves are off the trees and blowing around the universe. You think you’ve raked, but there’s still more on the trees, and if your neighbors don’t bother, there’s no sense in doing it either. The last tree to drop leaves is the oak.


Way back when I was in kindergarten, I used to love collecting leaves. It was considered somewhat educational at that point in my life. Different species, basic plant parts,  that kind of thing. The main concern of a leaf-collecting kindergarten kid? Pretty! I was always sad when they dried out and crumbled away.


Now, I enjoy photographing fall leaves in all their states, from still a bit green to all dried up. The variety is amazing.


This one is so pink on the back it looks artificial.


It’s narrow red counterpart wanted a darker background.


Next Week: The TV Experiment or My Adventures in Stock Photography

Several months ago, I saw a set of photographs someone took at the moment they turned off a CRT. I’d like to try it for myself.