03 30 2020
I took these pictures of my two favorite girls near the beginning of the quarantine. They were sitting on my camera until today. I got a bunch of cool landscape shots yesterday, and finally uploaded my card to my computer to look at and process. And I like these, so I wanted to do something with them. And this is what I’m doing. Another entry on my blog to nowhere. I hope you enjoy them
The human is my Mom. She is riding out the apocalypse doing what she loves, reading. I’m sure she loves other things too, at least I hope she does. But this is one of her favorite ways to pass the time, and that hasn’t changed with the new social distancing guidelines imposed on us due to the CoVid-19 virus global pandemic.
The cat is ofcourse the cat. She is one of two indoor cats, the other is a male. They are pretty cat-like. I like cats, and I like dogs. Currently we don’t have a dog. As much as I love dogs, they require too much responsibility and attention all the time, and I just don’t have that to give right now. Maybe someday I’ll get another dog.
And that weird looking food is some chicharrones I bought at a small Mexican restaurant nearby. It is fried pork skin, and in this case still has some fat and meat attached. I like fried pork rinds you get at the grocery store, and I like chicharrones like this from time to time. And I wanted to get a pound to have for quarantine provisions. It wasn’t as salty as I expected it to be, which was a bit of a disappointment. It was also a little too fatty for me. I made tacos out of it and that was pretty good, but too rich to eat too many. I had a burrito made of this stuff once at the place I got it, and enjoyed it. It was mixed with other ingredients that evened out the richness. Anyway, I probably won’t be getting any more of these, but it was an interesting experiment in gastronomics.
I am halfway through reading “White Fang” by Jack London. It truly is a masterpiece. I am a slow reader, but expect to finish it in a few days. I am able to spend a few hours a day reading during this time of quarantine, which is nice.
As mentioned earlier, I took a lot of landscape shots yesterday. And I am now going to start looking at them, and processing them.
03 26 2020
Joan of Arc
I recently made a Goodreads account through my Kindle eReader. “Joan of Arc: The Warrior Maid” is the first book that I have reviewed using the service. It is the first book I have ever reviewed. I have given stars to book before, but never have I written my thoughts about one. Especially for public consumption. But I am trying to be a better person lately. I’m trying to value my thoughts, and in sharing them with anyone else who cares to partake. And I am trying to be more disciplined in doing things that are productive/creative as opposed to merely thinking about doing them. For in my mind is a world rich in wonder and splendor, but in my physical life is a world of mediocrity and low standards. But that is another story, and my intention here is to put down a few thoughts about this book I just finished.
As you can see from the link at the top of this post, I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot reading it, and was well entertained in so doing. This book was well worth the price I paid, which was nothing. This is a book in the public domain, so it was free. I got it from Amazon.com, which to it’s credit does offer a good selection of public domain titles. There are of course other places on the internet to get public domain books and content to slake your thirst for knowledge and entertainment while saving you money for other things you may need more. And as a fairly poor person, this applies to me.
There are two main takeaways from this book and the story of Joan from my perspective that I want to share. The first is that no good deed goes unpunished. The second is the power of perspective, or look at the world from two diametrically opposed points of view.
Heh, the story is over 500 years old, so you should already know how it ends,lol. But fair’s fair, so don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers. Like you will ever read this particular book any way, or even this blog for that matter.
So Joan only wants what is, in her mind, good and right for her country, people and king. She is pious and devout. She had visions which she believed to be angels of saints that advised her she was of special interest to God, and had a holy mission to free her country from its enemies. I won’t get into the details. But she acted upon her faith and miraculously the little peasant maid convinced nearly everyone she talked to that she was legitimate. She even convinced the Prince of France to back her mission to crown him King. She was given the weight of the Prince’s armies and she made good use of them. She fulfilled her holy mandate, and paved the way for the Prince to defeat his enemies and be crowned King. This King was grateful, but was also feckless to a large extent based on this telling. There was intrigue and treachery in his court by which he was unduly swayed. This left his champion Joan of Arc to the wolves when he should have supported her. As a consequence the people of France continued to suffer. Meanwhile the King lived a life of luxury and pleasure. He never did not reach his full potential, disappointing Joan. Despite the treachery of the royal court Joan kept up her fight to free her country from its enemies. And she continued to have great effect. She also continued to be visited by her angels who advised her and told her things about what was to come. And most educated people know her fate as one of the greatest human martyrs to ever live. So after creating a King of France and arguably saving France as a nation, she was left to burn for her good deeds.
Of course there are two sides to every war. And while Joan of Arc was considered a saint and deliverer to the part of France that was loyal to the Prince/King, there were the English invaders and the French who were loyal to them. Of course Joan’s enemies considered her a witch and sorceress, especially when she was leading armies across France crushing her foes. Her enemies had grown pretty entrenched during the Hundred Year War, and in their estimation, France belonged to them rightfully and by God. So it is interesting to me that two sides of a war believed that God was with them. And in the name of God were willing to kill and subjugate their enemies with a clean conscience. The way this book is written it seems that many of the English invaders who captured and imprisoned Joan of Arc came to believe that she was at least devout and pious and good, if not divinely touched. But they were unable to change the course of events due to mechanisms of state that were intent on owning France. For even on both sides of the war it was apparent that the powers that be merely play lip service to the power of God, and are more interested in their own ambitions and pleasures.
So that is enough for one day. Time to do some actual work.
My current reading selection is another public domain book, “White Fang” by Jack London.
03 22 20202
I spent all morning working on this batch of photos I took a few days ago. The pond photos are of a private pond in a nice neighborhood in Houston county. The field and road shots are from Pulaski county. On the off chance you are reading this and know nothing about me, these counties are in the middle of the state of Georgia, USA.
I’m trying to take advantage of the time I have off from my full time job due to the pandemic response. So I am working on one of my passions, landscape photography. I am starting to get better I think. I am pretty happy with all of these shots taken on this outing.
I am posting edited versions of most of the shots I took. I only left out a couple due to repetition from experimentation, opting for the one I liked best, or a few were just not good at all in my opinion.
All of the Pulaski county shots were created with photo stacking, and I really like how they turned out. Crisp and clean all the way through, with the exception of the haze that was, and usually is in Georgia, present.
The Houston county shots are a mix of single exposures and one or two are HDR blends.
Some of these are more interesting than others, but I am posting them all because I did some work on them all and feel like it would be a waste if I didn’t do something with them. The one with the bird was a happy surprise. It took a pretty boring picture of trees and added something interesting, in my opinion.
03 21 2020
So I’ve been playing with focus stacking. I did a bit of exploration of my surroundings yesterday and found a nice area for a bit of landscape photography. So I thought I’d give focus stacking a try.
Focus stacking is taking multiple exposures of the same image using different focal lengths for different depths of field. Then jamming them all together to create an image that is all in focus. This technique is often used with macro photography as well as landscape photography.
I used 18 different exposures to create my final image. For the blog I am showing only the 2 of the shots within the depth of field spectrum. This shows the reader just how shallow the depth of field is on such a large area covered. I could have used a higher f stop, and will try that on my next outing.
The final result is below. I am quite happy with this image.
03 19 2020
As this blog is currently attached to my greater web site that is dedicated to selling real estate photography services, I figure I should probably blog about real estate photos not just thoughts and pictures I like. (After writing this blog post I decided to remove the blog from the greater website. I figure it really does nothing to enhance the business. But I do want to maintain the blog otherwise.)
This pandemic has shut down my full time work, and I have the security of knowing that I will at least get my base pay. So I have more time to dedicate to building my fledgeling real estate photography business. I have not put the time and effort into the business to make a serious go of it yet. But I have been working on building a foundation upon which to build. Perhaps this pandemic is something of a blessing in disguise. I need to take advantage of it and not be lazy during this time of social distancing and voluntary isolation. Perhaps I can gain some business where others are drawing back in safety. If I get infected I will have some time to recover, and I am not a high risk of death should I get infected. Unfortunately my parents are high risk, and we share a living space. So if I do attempt to work on my business I will need to be extra careful. Another in a long series of difficult decisions called life.
A quick note for whoever happens to read this. I am writing in a stream of consciousness. My thoughts tend to change gears easily. And I am not editing these blogs. I don’t really expect anyone to even read them. But if you do read it, thank you for taking an interest in my thought and perspective. I will try to keep on the main topic I set out at the start of this blog, but will not censor digression, or stifle my thought processes.
So a little bit about real estate photography as a business choice. Primarily I love photography, and want to make a business of it. All my research shows that to make a successful business of photography one must concentrate on an area of specialization. I considered many options before settling on real estate photography. There are many things about real estate photography that appeal to me and it makes the most sense for my personality and geographic location. While I would love to shoot beautiful women in lingerie there just isn’t a big market for that in this small town in the middle of Georgia. And I am far too shy with beautiful women to approach them randomly to request pictures for no good reason. But there is a good real estate market. With my town being a large military base town, there is a lot of turnover. Many people come and go every year to work on the base or move to another location when their orders come down. So there is most certainly a real estate market in the area.
I do very much enjoy shooting the real estate photos. There is alot about it that suits my personality and taste. I like not having to constantly try to get people with no idea what they are doing to do what I want and need for good portraits. While I generally like working with people, they can be frustrating especially when they are paying you to be an expert but second guess you. A house has no opinions and never talks back. It does not move when it shouldn’t. And it is always there so scheduling is a bit less complicated. I like the geometry involved in shooting houses. And while it seems like it would be an easy thing to do, getting good pictures of houses is actually a challenge and a skill. Just look at Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and you will see a great deal of the photos being used to market house sales are not very flattering or helpful to the consumer.
I enjoy browsing the real estate websites looking at homes of all sorts all over the country. It is interesting to me. I can say there are certainly some photographers in my local market that do very good work. But there is a lot of room for improvement for most of the properties I see advertised. I have been working with a couple real estate agents who have allowed me the opportunity to develop and refine my technique. I have found there is definitely a learning curve to shooting high quality real estate photos. I know I still have a lot to learn, but am comfortable with charging for my work at this point. I am ready to start my journey into the unknown, and begin to actively market my services. While self promotion is unnatural and uncomfortable for me, it is what needs to be done to advance my interests and give me an opportunity to do something I truly enjoy and feel good about dedicating my life’s energy towards.
Enjoy this lovely lakeside home I shot last week. I am happy with the results.