2020 07 02

2020 07 02

Well June was a rather bleak month. And frankly I’d rather forget  most of it. There are a few notable positives that came out of June however. I got my FAA certificate to be a drone pilot, specifically I got the actual laminated card making it official. I think I posted about passing the test previously, but until I got that card it didn’t feel quite official. I got my website in a place that makes me reasonably happy. I finally started actively marketing my business at the very end of June. I’ve also been riding my new bicycle pretty regularly. I am happy to report that none of my family have contracted the Coronavirus as of this point and time, and I pray it stays that way.

2020 05 22 Progress

2020 05 22 Progress

I’ve been falling down on my blogging lately. So I am posting a bit of a progress report, with how I have been using my time lately. Worth noting that we, the collective we, are still in a bit of a lockdown. Many official restrictions have been lifted, but many voluntary restrictions are still being respected by many. This a very complicated issue that brings many factors into consideration and can’t be easily explained. I will spend a few minutes on the current situation as I see it.

Many states including my own home state of Georgia have significantly relaxed the restrictions previously in place to protect against a rampant spread of the Covid-19 virus. Many businesses are reopening. The only businesses in Georgia that I think are legally not permitted to reopen are bars and clubs. In Georgia bars and clubs are easy political targets due to the large contingent of teetotalers and religious reactionaries, but that is a subject unto itself. And I don’t really want to write a huge editorial here. Time will tell if the decisions made were the correct ones. And I don’t want to get into politics too much on this blog.

Despite the relaxation of legal restrictions on businesses most public officials and people with half a brain are still recommending using caution in how individuals behave and interact with each other. It is pretty clear that while the number of cases seems to be somewhat under control, the possibility of a spike in cases and consequent deaths is a distinct possibility that remains. The nation as a whole has had some time to prepare for this plague. Production of protective devices like facemasks and sanitizer has increased, as well as medical devices like ventilators. Work on treatments have been implemented fully, and are hopefully going to bear fruit soon. We are at a precipice. Things could either get better or worse, and at this time I am trying to err on the side of caution.

Enough with the editorial on current affairs. And a little bit about how I’ve been spending my time while self isolating. Of course I have my parents’ health to consider, so I am trying to be extra careful as they are both elderly and have underlying conditions that are known to be problematic in conjunction with the coronavirus. I try not to go out too much, and be safe when I do. And my full-time job has not yet reconviend and will not until it may possibly when the new school year starts.

So I have been working on my other business endeavor, my real estate photography business Carterpix. Progress is slow, but steady. I am trying to do things in a good and correct way. There is a lot I am trying to learn. And a lot that needs to be done. It is more difficult for me to write about this aspect of my life than editorializing about current events. Current events are a fairly set narrative. Starting a business is an ever changing endeavor where every decision has consequences, and you want to make the best decisions to maximize potential. And I am very nervous about the next several steps that I deem need to be made.

At the moment I am researching CRM/database tools. I believe that it would be wise to find a good package that specializes in Customer Resource Management for small businesses as opposed to using the google or apple spreadsheets, which would be the free option. I figure if I am going to put a lot of time and effort into building a list of clients/potential clients I should only have to do it once and be able to manage and curate it from that point on. I am pretty sure this is a good move. I want to create a list of potential clients in my area to market my services to, and think this is a necessary tool. I just need to find a good one.

I am feeling more and more confident in my ability to deliver exceptional products. I have been doing a lot of practicing with my time lately. I have been practicing taking photos using different techniques and lighting. And I have been practicing different editing techniques as well. I am feeling more comfortable and confident, and am working on developing my own style.

I have been reading and studying some of the masters of the craft and learning from them. And then adapting their techniques to meet my own style and work flow. I don’t intend on going into much detail here. All that matters, in my opinion, is that I know what I’m talking about.

I am just finishing a book about marketing of photography and have learned some good lessons there. I really need to read more books about business and the photo business before I get too involved in more novels at this point. As much as I love to read a good novel, the smart move at this point would be to increase my knowledge of business and how it applies to my craft. This sort of reading used to be very boring to me, but as it now has some applied usage that is relevant it is far more interesting, granted it is no Hemmingway. 

I have been reworking my website www.carterpix.com to hopefully improve upon it at every update. This reworking has also been good practice for editing of pictures and refining workflows. I have reworked many of the photos on the web site, remastered so to speak. I am trying to replace all the .png files with .jpg files. The .png files are a good bit larger and don’t really, in my opinion, bring much extra to the equation. And even though many people have high speed internet that can download both large .png and small .jpg files just as quickly, there are some who do not have that capability and I want to make my site accessible to everyone. I still have some work to do on this front, but I’m getting closer and closer to it being something I’m ready to promote.

I got my new bike, and I really like it alot. Unfortunately I am not as young and thin as I once was. I am working on building up my stamina a bit at a time. And sadly my hands start to go numb after riding for a while. When I lean on the handlebars it causes my hands to start tingling. Apparently this is a not uncommon problem called biker palsy. The blood seems to be restricted causing this unpleasant sensation. I just got a new pair of gloves yesterday that I hope will help alleviate this problem. They are bike riding gloves that have gel in the palm areas to cushion the pressure against the handle bars. I am cautiously optimistic it will be of some help. But I doubt it will be the cure all. 

I’m going to go for a bike ride now. Then, I will then mow the yard. And I plan on doing some drone practice shots later, hopefully ones that I can use to put on the web site for marketing my drone service.

I am still waiting for the official FAA certificate to come in the mail. I got a temporary certificate, but it lacks the official license number needed to register my drone and apply to waivers.

Not going to post any pictures today. I’ll try to update more in the near future.

2020 05 11 RIP Little Richard

2020 05 11 RIP Little Richard

It’s been a good while in pandemic terms since I have posted on my blog. Quite a lot has happened, in my opinion. At least I’ve felt busy. Most notable is I had been practicing, and since taken and passed my FAA Part 107 Drone Certification test. I am awaiting the actual certificate to register my drone, which is below the legal weight limit to require registration. But if and when I add modifications it will be required. Plus I think it would be helpful when applying to waivers, which I will be needing to do in order to fly in a good part of Warner Robins.

I have taken some practice drone shots and am quite happy with the product. I will want to continue to hone my skills to find the best angles for marketing purposes.

I admit I never really listened to a lot of Little Richard’s music other than the biggies Tuti Fruti and Good Goll. I generally haven’t liked or listened to music of that era very much. But after his demise I have done a bit more research and listening to his music, and he was truly great. And I came to find out that Little Ricard was a musical hero to one of my musical heroes Lemmy Killmister. I think my musical tastes have changed a bit since I last listened to Little Richard, and I am listening to some of his deeper cuts and he truly does Rock n’ Roll. RIP and thank you for what you did.

04 29 2020 Practice

I’ve been doing a bit of practice at home the last few days. I am practicing real estate photo techniques. I am nearing the end of my Mark Twain book “Roughing It.” I have been studying for the Part 107 drone certification exam, and trying to get a seat. And I’ve been taking my walks. Of Course I check the news and Facebook daily. I guess since I am mentioning all the stuff I Do, I should add games. I play my Clash of Clans game everyday. And I play Blizzard’s Hearthstone almost every day. I take a nap almost everyday. And today I have an appointment to donate plasma. I try to donate plasma twice a week, which is the limit.

For the sake of adding some photographs to my photo blog here are a few of the practice real estate shots I have done. This group of practice shots was created using a D5500 with a 12-24mm 114 Nikkor. These are a combination of shots that include flash, ambient and composited shots.

The Covid-19 self isolation is taking a bit of a toll on me at this point. While I am trying to keep myself busy with relatively productive things, not getting out of the house has been a bit maddening. My, mostly, daily walks do get me outside for an hour, and that is indeed nice. I have been enjoying the fresh air. And while I dread the first few steps, I enjoy, for the most part, the walk in general. I do sometimes wish it was over with about 2/3 of the way through my walk, because of aches and pains. My right knee is sometimes stiff and sore. I have had problems with my knees since I was a kid, and I broke a knee cap jumping over a branch while doing exercises at soccer practice. My morbid obesity puts a lot of pressure on my knees. I try jogging once in a while, and wish I could do so more, but I worry about the pressure I put on my knees. And my bad knee is always sore after a little bit of jogging, so I don’t often do it.

I hope the bicycle I ordered actually gets delivered. I had previously ordered a bicycle, and the order system said well it will be delivered in 2 weeks. But after two weeks I got a notification that it was out of stock, so sorry. That was frustrating. This second bicycle I have on order is in a bit of a similar situation. I ordered it about two weeks ago, and it is supposed to be delivered in another week and half. I pray it goes through as it should, and I don’t receive another late response saying they can’t do anything for me. Of course this is just one of the many negative aspects of how this virus has affected the supply of goods. I know my problems are insignificant compared to many people, but this kind of thing is still frustrating. I would love to do some biking during this time of isolation. Despite my obesity, I actually very much like to exercise at times.

The testing centers for the FAA Part 107 drone certification are indeed closed due to the COVID-19 virus and the resulting restrictions. Based on their parent web site the local testing centers may reopen on May 1, which only a couple days from now. I hope it does indeed open, so I can set up my test. I am ready for it now, and don’t really want to restudy in a couple months. Not to mention, I really could use that certificate to add drone services to my business. I realize I’m being selfish, but I suppose that is human nature. The whole fracas about to re-open or not to re-open things is complicated at best. And I see, and sympathize with, both sides of the debate.

I guess I’ll weigh in with a few of my thoughts about opening up or not. So, for history’s sake, at this time the USA, and much of the world, are in full institutional crisis mode. There are restrictions over much of the country. There are debates about states rights vs federal authority. At the moment the states seem to have the ultimate ability to decide what and when business, and other institutions, should be closed down for the safety of civil society. The country is divided, as usual, about the government imposing its mandate on civil society at large. Fully grown adults are acting like children throwing temper tantrums on both sides of the argument. It is a powerful issue at hand with far reaching consequences, and emotions are running high. The media is naturally fanning the flames of division in an attempt to create drama so it can get more eyeballs and charge more for advertising.

At the moment the state I live in, Georgia, is at the center of the public debate. The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, was the first, I think, governor in the USA to lift many of the restrictions being imposed on local businesses. There is a lot of controversy involving his decision. He is being derided in many forums. Conversely, he is being celebrated by some. I think overall most people think his action is premature, and too wide in scope. There are many factors at play, which I will leave to the reader’s imagination, as this is just a simple blog no one will likely ever read anyway. But the die has been cast. At this point the Governor’s will has gone into effect and many Georgia businesses are reopening. They are required to reopen, but they have the option to do so. I’ll state that one of the controversies surrounding the Governor’s decision is that with state lifting mandatory restrictions it will free them from being forced to pay unemployment benefits to people who do not return to work now. I will refrain from posting political opinions. Anyway, there are a great deal of implications when dealing with policies of this scope.

I am fairly moderate in my view of the COVID-19 pandemic response. As I said earlier I see the point and sympathize with both sides to some degree or another. I tend to think that caution should be the rule of the day, but as with all things there should be moderation. And I think for the most part the USA and Georgia have done a good job. I don’t agree with draconian measures, and despite the potesations of many on the right, I don’t believe the response has been draconian. People are still free to travel in most places without being molested by law enforcement. Some cities and communities are more strict than others, but as I understand it they are allowed movement for necessities. Many right wing protesters are being huge babies about this whole thing. But naturally the left wing reactionaries are equally despicable. I guess it comes down to not much liking extremists in general, but again I see how they both benefit society in their own way. Or at least have some effect on society, for better or worse. It is unfortunate though that such terrible people on both side of the arguments of the day get so much clout.

My sister is into crafting and such, and has made some virus protection masks for us, which she sent recently. They are well crafted. She is good at that sort of thing. I took a photo of our Mom modeling one of the masks, which you can see below.

04 26 2020 Sunday Food Etc.

04 26 2020 Sunday Food Etc.

I got my bookmark problem worked out between my iPhone and my iMac. I’m pretty happy about that. There was a problem with the two communicating like they should. The IMac had a bunch of bookmarks, but they would not sync up with the iPhone. I talked to Apple support, and they didn’t have an answer exactly, but we determined it was likely due to the number of bookmarks I had, which was a lot. So I exported all the bookmarks and have them stored in a html file for posterity. Then I deleted a large number of folders and bookmarks. I got it down to the ones I use the most at the current time. And now it syncs. There was a little more to it than that, but I don’t feel like detailing every last little thing I did. That was the distilled essence.

I’ve been studying for the FAA part 107 drone certification test the last several days. I am feeling pretty comfortable with the material at this point. I plan on some more study though. I want to find some free practice tests. I will work on that today.

I just attempted to schedule a test for the Part 107 exam. It is done through a testing/proctoring service called PSI True Talent. There weren’t any readily available seats at the moment. I put in a request for a seat. We will see if it is honored. It could be they are not testing due to the current Covid-19 crisis. I pray that accomodations can be made. There doesn’t need to be much contact, I would think, to take the test, and it should be fairly safe. It would be unfortunate if I had to wait until this crisis is over to get certified. This truly is a complex, complicated and dangerous time in the world

One of the ways I’ve been using my time during the self isolate during the Covid-19 crisis is to experiment a bit with cooking. I have always enjoyed cooking. And I like to think I am pretty good at it. As someone who likes to eat, I know what I like. And I usually like what I cook. So there’s that.

My most recent cooking experiment is making “sun” dried tomatoes. The sun is in parentheses, because the sun played no part in the creation of these tomatoes. They were produced using a food dehydrator. I won’t go into the process. It is easy enough to google how to do this. There are many variations. I am quite happy with the product.

I plan on using this batch as is, and making a new batch to let soak in olive oil with some herbs and spices for a few weeks. Umm, delicious.

For dinner last night I cooked a roast of some sort. It was beef, that is all I know for certain. It had been in the freezer for a while. It was probably about 3-4 lbs. I let it defrost two days in the refrigerator. I neglected to look at the packaging before disposing of it, so I’m not sure what cut it was. It was pretty lean, the thought is it may have been sirloin. I cooked it in the crockpot with some red wine, onions, chopped garlic, and spices. It was pretty dry once done. But I cut it up anto slices, and pulled it apart a little bit. Then put the meat back in the wine juices in the crockpot on warm for a while. Once we ate it it was pretty good in my opinion. I smothered it with the wine sauce, of which there was plenty. I didn’t take pictures of the plating, but I can assure you it was a fine meal.

And here is a picture of one of my cats for good measure.

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