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Monday, January 31, 2011

My Very Last Post About the Coyotes, I Promise

I was at our local feed store, a favorite place to go, and was asking the young guy who was helping me about the coyotes. He told me that the Maryland State Department of the Environment had imported them in to control  the deer population.

Well isn't that nice. 

He then went on to tell me that like so many other government programs, this one didn't quite work out as planned. Obviously the coyotes did not read their job description closely enough,  because they are out there controlling the foal, sheep, goat, and domestic pet population and the deer population keeps right on growing. Oh my.

The upside to this mess, is that he and a friend of his have started a coyote removal business and are doing quite well and would I like to look at his rate sheet for killing them.  I said no, not now and thought to mysellf, isn't this a loverly mess.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Thoughts on Coyotes

Well guys thanks for all of your comments.  Here's what I'm going to do about them, absolutely nothing, as long as they stay in there spot. They didn't kill who they killed to be mean and evil.They came to a land of abundance, with a ready made den, that all  they had to do was enlarge it a little after they devoured the previous owners. They have ruined my Eden. Well I guess if you were a mouse or a rabbit, you might think differently, about the Eden part, but hey, that's life.

The deer have changed. the bucks are constantly with the herd.  They stand guard over the does and fawns. My cats are afraid, But I'm not going to do anything, until they put the first paw on my yard. When they do that all bets are hedged and then I'm calling animal control and have them shot. It's not an easy decision, but we were here first and as long as they stay in the outback they can live there.  The nanosecond they come into my yard they are toast.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts About Coyotes

This issue has torn me up one side and down the other. I have east coast coyotes in my outback. These animals are part wolf, so they're bigger and stronger than what you guys out west have to deal with.  Here's what they've done. My fox, Roxie is dead. My raccoons, Hughie, Dewie and Louie are dead. The little fawn I was trying to keep alive is dead.  My cats, who can climb trees have had vet bills totaling at least $300 a piece because they've  had their rear ends torn up while they were climbing up trees to stay alive.  It is so easy when it's not personal to go, "how could any body want to do that." You can get real evil when it's personal.

Here's my dilemma. I don't own a gun. I could, I suppose run out there with a a shovel with a real evil point and hurt them.  But here's what I think, if I can't kill them cleanly, I won't make them suffer. But while I twist on the wind about this, they continue to hurt and kill the animals that I love.

There is no easy answer for this. But this is a problem that keeps me up at  night.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More on Photography

Ok, here's what I charge for various and sundry jobs.

1. I arrive at the start of wedding and stay until the cutting of the cake. I deliver a disk to the bride and groom $1000.
2. I come to the bride's house, shoot her getting ready for the wedding, shoot the wedding and the entire reception, create a mini website for her to look at, and hand over the disk.  I also give her some tips on putting together an album. $1500
3.  I do all of the above, plus the bride gets a really pretty Art Leather album.  $3000. The album will probably cost me somewhere around $1000 to print and have bound. 

When I shoot a wedding, if the bride wants me to, I will take all of those arty shots that some of them seem to want. For the most part it's a ten hour day, plus a week or two of post processing.

I get paid up front.  I don't take the first picture until the check is in my hand.  I used to do it, a third when they booked,  a third before the wedding and the final third when I delivered the album.  But it's too easy to find reasons not to pay the photographer. The caterer, reception site, wedding gown sellers, DJ's  ect. get paid up front and so should you.

Horse and rider, $250 to $500 depending.  Once again, I give them a disk and recommend some really good printers.  You'd be surprised  how many people are satisfied getting their pictures printed at Wal Mart or Ritz. I can't compete with their prices, so I don't even try.

Family Photos - the same as horse and rider.

Processing tools you will need to have and know how to use.

1.  Photoshop - the full blown photoshop, because you are going to use the RAW setting on your camera for every job you shoot and you will need to be able to use actions. Once you bite the bullet, the updates aren't all that expensive.
2.  Power Retouche Pro's sharpening filter, it's the best I've seen.  What a difference.
3.  The Craig's action set that has Porcelain Skin.  I bought it so long ago, I can't remember which one it was. It's  called something like the Glamour set.  When you use that action and then reduce the opacity of the layer to around 25%, you get what I like to call "the magazine look."  People love it.

You will need a monitor callibration tool.  I like Spyder. What you see on your monitor has to be what they will get at the printer.

Oh yes, if you are unsure about how to use Photoshop, I recomend the book Photoshop for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby.  He also has a book for those digital photographers who use Elements. It will tell you exactly how to do what you want to do.

If anybody needs any help, just let me know and I'd be happy to help you in any way I can

PS:  I have shot weddings for $500 and family photos for $25, when I knew the people were deserving and they didn't have any money.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Bit of This and That

Well here I am putting together a wedding album, not such a big deal, except this was my first gay wedding shoot and album.  The  reception was wonderful and I have to say there was a whole lot of love in that venue. The happy couple got married in DC where it's legal and had their reception here. I took the fru fru out of what I usually do, and if I did have to say so myself, I'm rather proud of the finished product.

Now on to "there was no joy in mudville," bit.  How could the Ravens have lost after such a superior first half?  That game was disappointing in the extreme.  After being bedecked in purple, I think the city has gone into mourning, not to mention we had to lose to those miserable ratbag Steelers. Oh well, there's always next year.

And while I'm on the subject of lousy luck, I feel compelled to mention the ongoing stink bug issue.  Last summer, the whole state and maybe the whole east coast was infested with stink bugs. Stink bugs have no predators.  Who would want to eat a smelly, repulsive bug like that.  Well after a summer spent swatting them, squashing them, trying to remove them, since they flew in every time you opened the door, did they die off like they were supposed to this winter.  No they did not, the little miseries must laid a million eggs in every warm corner they could find. So there still around. I kid you not.  Those hideous bugs are still around.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Downside of a Photographic Career

I  know a lot of you think, gee whis (sp) if I only had a photographic career, my life would be perfect. Well maybe. It depends on your definition of perfect. Does perfect mean that you have to tell a bride, I'm really sorry, but the price is the price, because she doesn't understand the work involved in shooting a wedding? Does perfect mean that the thought of shooting something just because,  makes you develop a nervous twitch.  I, personally love needlepoint. It doesn't involve price negotiations and photoshop. And maybe, here is the most important thing, does perfect mean that you always have to show up and give your personal best at the same time your jollying your clients.  Trust me all clients need to be jollied and cosseted and cajoled to show up in a way that will make them look good. If you love photography and don't love client cosseting, hours in photoshop, and knowing what they expect; don't do it. Stay where you are. I love shooting professionally, but the work involved is horrendous and the price it exacts is high.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well What Do You Know

I was going to call this post "pity poor mii," because the little character on Wii Fit that represents me is not having a very good time.  She's ridden her bicycle into trees, flown into walls, can only hula hoop five turns before the darn thing drops to the ground and is always falling off the tightrope.  Do you want to know how she reacts to all this losing behavior?  She lowers head head and looks all sad  and ashamed.  Oh yes, not to mention how she  looks when she's told she's overweight, on a daily basis, no less.

However, there's one thing my mii can do and that's run.  I'm on the second level and about to advance to the third. And the best part is I've lost five pounds and am no longer "overweight." I'm also doing well with the yoga. Now if I could just stop ramming into trees and buildings, and falling off that blankety blank tightrope things would definitely be looking up. Can a size ten be too far off? You never know.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Life Was Fat

Back in the day there was an ad that aired right about now  It was for a woman's health club and here's what they said:

"Ohh, the holidays were wonderful. All the parties, all the food, all the wine and beer. Life was fat, and so are you!" Well, I asked for and got a Wii Fit for Christmas. With extreme nervousness, I stepped onto the balance board and was weighed and then did a few balance exercises. The good news is, I'm not overweight. The bad news is, physically, I'm fifteen years older than I really am.  YIKES. I knew my balance was bad. When I was riding four days a week my balance was perfect, but now.... So I have my work cut out for me. I'll keep you posted. Hopefully, I can be back soon at fifty and not sixty five. Sigh.

Now for the good news. I managed to get three new clients at the New Years Eve party I attended. So life is pretty good. We've managed to dodge all the bad weather.  My deer are fine, Roxy foxy is fine and Miss Kitt is pregnant and doing well. I'm looking forward to 2011. Let's here it for the new year.