04 10 2020
Been awake a few hours now. I’ve been unboxing my new drone. Yes, I finally bought a drone. I’m super excited. I’ve been weighing the options for many months now, and finally did it. This is going to be a wonderful addition to Carterpix Real Estate Photography. And I admit, I just want one because they are cool.
I’ve done a lot of research and there really was only one option that made sense for me right now. I got a DJI Mavic Mini. It is a smaller introductory drone at a fairly low price point, but it is no toy. I haven’t taken it out for a flight yet, but I have high expectations for the quality of photo and video it can produce. There is preparation still to do, like charging batteries, and reading the manuals, yes I read the manuals.
I expect it to be more than adequate for doing real estate photography in my current market, where drone options seem to be sparse. I pray I made a good decision. If not it will at least give me some practice with the DJI fly more app, and getting used to flying drones in general while not risking as much more expensive unit. When this investment pays off I can think about an upgrade. Although I did actually buy the DJI care package just in case. I usually don’t buy the extended warranty, but this one made sense as the product is a flying machine that can fall hundreds of feet or smash into a tree.
As I’ve been at work this morning I have been saturated by good smells. I put a pork butt/shoulder in the crock pot last night, and it’s been cooking slow and low all night long. It smells so good. Lunch today is going to be awesome. I’ll pull the pork in a little while and lest it rest. Then it will be pulled pork sandwiches on white bread with BBQ sauce for lunch. Yumm. So many good things are happening today. My life isn’t perfect by a long stretch, but I am truly blessed.
I took a quick picture of my butt for this blog. It was quickly done. Only used existing lights. Used my 105mm 1.4. Unfortunately the lens was a bit too close to the subject, and I didn’t get a super sharp focus in the foreground. I’m not too worried about it though as this is just a quick blog post. It still looks delicious.
FWIW this was a 7.5 lb Boston Butt/pork shoulder roast. All I did with it was rub it with salt and pepper. Then I made several slits in it and stuck garlic in the slits. That is the little growth looking things you see on the meat. Then I stuck it in the crock pot without any liquids. And set it to cook on low. It has been cooking overnight. I reckon I started it at about 8pm last night and it is now 8:35am. As soon as I finish posting this blog entry, I’ll check the temperature, then I’ll shut it down when it’s safe. I’ll pull my meat out, put it on a board, and lest it rest a while. I’ll let the liquid settle, then remove as much of the fat as I can. When the meat has rested, I’ll pull it with a fork, and remove the bone. Then I’ll put it all back in the remaining liquid and mix it up so the pork is nice and juicy. Yummm, I am looking forward to sandwiches.
For my other photo uploads for the day I am posting a few more shots from the AE Harris Rd location from this weekend. Again, taken with my 300mm f4-5.6. These are of the railroad tracks there, and one of a farm tractor. I reckon you can tell just by looking at them what they are, but I figure I’ll tell you anyway. At the end of this road, at least as far as the public can go, there is a set of railroad tracks. Then there is a gate with no trespassing signs, which I posted yesterday. Then there is a large gate. When I got there the gate was locked, but as I was shooting a man in a pick up truck pulled up and went on the property. A while later he fired up the big tractor you see here and started doing his chores. I am guessing that it is a pecan orchard that is being protected here. There are quite a few of those around here. I think Georgia is one of the leading producers of pecans in the country, maybe the world.
04 09 2020
Been a while since my last post in the world of Coronavirus Pandemic land. I’m getting a lot more stuff done without having to drive a school bus half the day. I’m getting my ducks in a row for when I feel comfortable trying to market the real estate photography business. I feel compelled to hold off on it for the time being due to the pandemic, but I’m blessed to still get paid for my bus gig during this time of world wide insanity and systemic breakdown. The state of the world right now reminds me of the Jimi Hendrix song, “1983… (A Merman I should Turn To Be)” specifically the part where he says
“The machine, that we built,
Would never save us’, that’s what they say”
So powerful and so appropriate at this time of uncertainty in the world. I suppose we, humanity, are doing okay. We will survive as a race, and the world will continue on after this plague is behind us. But the damage it does will affect the survivors for the rest of our lives in one way or another.
As it is one of my favorite Hendrix songs, I am going to post the entire lyrics to the song.
“Hurrah, I awake from yesterday
Alive, but the war is here to stay
So my love, Catherina and me,
Decide to take our last walk through the noise to the sea
Not to die but to reborn,
Away from lands so battered and torn
Oh say, can you see it’s really such a mess
Every inch of Earth is a fighting nest
Giant pencil and lipstick tube shaped things,
Continue to rain and cause screaming pain
And the arctic stains from silver blue to bloody red
As our feet find the sand,
And the sea is straight ahead, straight up ahead
Well it’s too bad that our friends, can’t be with us today
Well it’s too bad
The machine, that we built,
Would never save us’, that’s what they say
(That’s why they ain’t coming with us today)
And they also said it’s impossible for a man to live and breathe under
Was their main complaint
And they also threw this in my face, they said:
Anyway, you know good and well it would be beyond the will of God,
And the grace of the King (grace of the King)
So my darling and I make love in the sand,
To salute the last moment ever on dry land
Our machine, it has done its work, played its part well
Without a scratch on our bodies and we bid it farewell
Starfish and giant foams greet us with a smile
Before our heads go under we take a last look at the killing noise
Of the out of style, the out of style, out of style(oooh)…
So down and down and down and down we go
Hurry my darlin’ we mustn’t be late
For the show
Neptune champion games to an aqua world is so my dear
Right this way smiles a mermaid
I can hear atlantis full of cheer
Atlantis full of cheer
I can hear atlantis full of cheer
Songwriters: Jimi Hendrix
1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) lyrics © Experience Hendrix Llc, Experience Hendrix Llc., Experience Hendrix, L.l.c.
I love me some Jimi Hendrix.
I was thinking the other day about some of the huge world events I have lived through. This is probably the most serious in terms of human loss and effect, at least in my opinion. We are only in the beginning stages of this pandemic, at least that is my thought on the subject at this time. Perhaps all the politicians and people saying we have this under control, we will get back to normal soon, are right. I doubt it. I think they are intentionally misleading people like most politicians and people with money and power on the line are wont to do.
For my photos today I am including some pictures of signs I took this weekend. I was using my 70-300 4-5.6G. It’s not my favorite lens. The shots I got on this outing were kinda cool though. The lens isn’t super sharp, and thus created some interesting looks I don’t get with better lenses. So in a way it is pretty cool. I did more or the lomography type style on the other shots from this batch, which I will upload later this week, God willing.
04 05 2020
It’s Palm Sunday today. Jesus rode into Jerusalem prepared to do what he knew had to be done. Truly a brave and selfless act. Jesus is an example and source of strength for me. I don’t always agree with all of his followers, but I can’t find any fault with him. I am happy to have pledged my life in service to him and his father the King of Heaven.
In this time of uncertainty and confusion I need Jesus even more. His strength to carry on in the face of certain death is an inspiration. I pray that neither I nor my family are subjected to this plague that is currently covering the Earth. Ideally, no one would be stricken, but that isn’t going to happen obviously. For the genie is already out of the bottle and running rampant on earth. I pray that in God’s wisdom that our home is protected. I pray that all those we love are protected. I further pray that when God sees fit to eventually touch us with this plague somehow that we are strong and able to endure. And I pray that we carry on in the strength of his name, wisely and cautiously using the minds he gave us.
I present the final installment of pictures from the pecan orchard. This group of photos were all taken in the wee hours of the morning. Light was sparse to nearly nonexistent. There is a road that ran near the field where I was. And I got some long exposure shots with trails. I do enjoy trails.
04 03 2020
It’s late in the day. I want to write a quick entry and get back to my book. I want to post this batch of photos as it is the second of a group of three batches from my last outing. And I want to do another outing again tomorrow morning or the next. I haven’t yet decided.
The book I just started is another public domain title. Reading free books on my Kindle is pretty sweet. This quarantine has been good for my reading. Anyway I am currently reading “Roughing it,” which is a memoirs of Mark Twain. Not sure if he has other ones or not. I really will find out though. I really like Twain. I can see why he is so well loved in this country’s literacy pantheon. He is a master wordsmith. And his window on his time is incredible. A great deal can be learned about life in the USA in the 19th century. He provided a fascinating window on that time.
A few words about this group of photos. This is a pecan orchard in Houston county Georgia. I took them at dawn. There was barely any light for some of these. I experimented with HDR techniques and focus stacking. I played with different processing techniques and styles to create a varied palette for further consideration. Like any of my photos I may revisit them at some future date and make changes to the colors and other aspects as I see fit.
Back to my book.
04 02 2020
I finished reading “White Fang” by Jack London last night. It was a true masterpiece. It made me look at the world differently, and at my age that is a hard thing to do. I very much enjoy and appreciate any device that can change my perspective in a genuine and profound way, and this book did it. I suppose Most books I read have an effect on me. Some more than others. Books tend to have more of an effect than other types of stories I consume like movies, television or podcasts. I don’t do many podcasts though. Don’t really like them that much. But I try them out every now and then to possibly find something I like. I know many other people these days are getting into podcasts in a big way, so I keep thinking there must be something to it.
Ahh yes, my wandering and meandering mind grapes are all over the place again. I guess it’s good that this isn’t a professional or academic piece of writing. I’m not going to write a book report on “White Fang” or dissect it thematically. My last few thoughts on the subject are that I really like dogs. I really appreciate a strong sense of wildness and freedom. And I am well versed in making profound compromises. All of these are things that White Fang and I share in common, with the exception of liking dogs. But you will have to read it to find out why that is the case.
I have been working on my business website quite a bit lately. I am inching closer and closer to doing some marketing of my business. I really want my web presence to be good before I start actively trying to woo clients, so I am trying to put a good deal of work and thought into my website. I want my website to require little effort to update once I start actually taking clients for consistency and expediency.
I am thankful for my sister who has provided me with many good ideas from a fresh and somewhat neutral perspective. She is very smart, and well educated. Her opinion is quite valuable to me, and I am happy she has given me some of her time. She provided me with a list of ideas and changes, most of which I am implementing. I still have some work left to do on this as of this writing.
I know that my website and fledgling business have a long way to go to be successful. I am not even totally sure what I want success to look like at this point in my life. After a long time of floundering I really appreciate my current full-time job as a school bus driver. And unless I can parlay my business into some kind of massive money making juggernaut, I am pretty content keeping it as a “side hustle.” That could be a problem for some clients, at least that is what my mind grapes tell me. When the quarantine is lifted and I have to go back to driving the bus I won’t have nearly as much time to dedicate to my business, and I know clients can be demanding in their wants and needs. I worry I may not be able to satisfy them all, but I can’t worry too much about the unknown. I just need to press on, do the best I can, and deal with these things as they arise.
I guess an ideal would be a balance between my bus driving, which is nice and stable, has good insurance, and is willing to keep me on the payroll during this quarantine after only 5 months of employment. There is most certainly something to be said for that. And then the ability to work with real estate agents taking photos of homes for marketing purposes. Making some extra income to supplement my bus driver income. The bus driver income is not really great. It is paid hourly, and at a good rate of pay for this part of the world. But the hours are not the traditional full time hours. I am only guaranteed 20 hours a week, but on the average week I log about 25. But this number of hours is perfect for me to work my real estate photography business. On the average weekday there is a window of 4-5 hours in between my morning and afternoon bus routes for me to work my own business. Which means that there is enough time for me to shoot one or two homes depending on the size, location, and the complexity of the package the client chooses. Then I must also take into account the post processing of the clients images and posting them. For a silver package the amount of time to process and post I would estimate at an hour to an hour and half. For the gold package the processing and posting will be significantly more.
In the shooting of a silver package I only take one exposure of each scene. I don’t have extra equipment to haul around and consider where to place and worry about moving. The silver package is much easier to shoot and will take easily half the time or less that that gold package. At this time the price of the silver package is exactly half that of the gold. The gold package requires extra equipment, namely a rather large and somewhat heavy strobe light. Then it requires multiple exposures of each scene. There is the base exposure, which is the same technique used in the silver package, an ambient exposure. Then without so much as bumping the tripod and camera at least one strobe shot of the same exact image is taken. Often more than one strobe shot is needed depending on the size of the room and other variables. Great care must be taken not to bump or move the tripod while rearranging the lighting or the shot is ruined and must be started over, which gets into more hassle in weeding out the bad shots in post. I need to consider some method of differentiating between good and bad shots. At this time a shot of my hand as a placeholder comes to mind, yes I need to remember that. Anyway, gold shots are a good deal more work and skill. But sadly, at this point I don’t have a lot of comparison images that show a difference to even justify double the price. Plus price is certainly a factor for profit minded agents, and selling them is going to be a major challenge for me.
Just reading how much more goes into the gold package production process I’ll leave it up to you to imagine how much more effort goes into post processing. Needless to say it is much more involved than the silver photos. I don’t want to write a book on the subject, at least not here and not now, lol.
Well, just fixed my second cup of coffee. Time to wind down my blog post for the day. My last thought on my business is that I am very seriously considering buying a drone. Drones and real estate photography go hand in hand. And it would just be cool and fun to have a drone anyway. Much like my other expenditures in equipment for a business there is also the dual purpose of loving photography, loving gear, loving the process, loving the learning, and loving creating things I find interesting and beautiful.
So in the spirit of creating beautiful things I am presenting a few shots I took last weekend and had a chance to process in the last couple days. There is a batch of photos, but I am going to split them up over the next few days.
This batch is of a field at sunrise, a nice road shot, and there is a shot of my car. Actually it was my Dad’s car he let me borrow at the time. I enjoyed playing around with the post processing of these shots. As you can see there are several similar ones. I am not sure which I like the best, so I am posting them all. There were even a few more that didn’t make the cut. But I liked all these enough to post.