Friday, September 30, 2011

About-Photography Podcast

Sorry if the image to the right startled you. If you come here often, you're accustomed to seeing a photo of a hot model rather than yours truly peering out at you. There are some very good reasons I generally remain on the unseen side of the camera and you're looking at, pretty much, all of them. The image is smaller than those I usually post of my beautiful models. Posting a smaller version of this image is called being "merciful."

I voiced a podcast interview with my photo-buddy, Ed Verosky, for his About-Photography website. If you have a spare 20 minutes and want to have a listen, you can do that by CLICKING HERE. Warning: If you click on the link, there's a bigger version of the graphic above on About-Photography's home page.

The interview is fairly short, again revealing my sense of mercy.

After listening to the interview myself, I'm now... you know... on a mission to eradicate the words, "you know," from my everyday speech. You know?

I don't want to beat this self-deprecating stuff too far into the dirt so here's a pretty girl pic of Katarina. One of the cool things about listening to a podcast, as opposed to reading an interview, is you can surf around looking at pics of beautiful women (like Katarina) or men, depending on your gender or orientation, while you're listening.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paging Ms. Leibovitz

First off, a big thanks to everyone who's purchased my new e-book, "Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography." Sales have been terrific and I've received some excellent responses. "It's a good read, " is one of the things people are telling me. For writers, "a good read," is definitely something we love hearing. If you're thinking of purchasing and haven't yet done so, CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.

BTW, I sent an email to Annie Leibovitz's people offering a courtesy copy of the book for the super-star shooter to have.

Oh yes I did!

I quoted her a few times in the book so I thought, "Why not?" . Ms. Leibovitz once said she uses her camera, "in a Zen way." (That's one of her quotes I used, of course.) Based on that alone, I'm thinking she might relate to some of what's in the book, assuming she reads it. (Not that the book is filled with all that much Zen. It is, first and foremost, a book about shooting portraiture. The Zen stuff is used to punctuate the ideas in the book.)

Paying homage to Annie Leibovitz, even if it's only by using a few words in my book which sprang from her very own lips is, at the very least, a nice compliment to her. I mean, considering all the iconic photographers I also quoted in the book, I put her in most excellent company, photographers quoted wise. In the book, Annie L even gets a chapter heading, Chapter Eighteen I think, where I used a quote mouthed by her.

You know what? I'm so stoked, I just made an executive decision: I'm going to offer my other two e-books at a discount!

From now till next Friday, October 7, you can purchase and download either or both of my first two e-books, "Guerrilla Glamour" and "Guerrilla Headshots," with a 20% discount off their regular price of $9.95 (USD). That's $2 off each e-book! $4 off if you buy both! (I used a calculator and figured out what 20% off equals for one or both books just in case you suck at math as badly as I do... Your welcome.)

Now I'm in a positively giddy mood! I'm going to send another e-mail Annie Leibovitz's way. I'm going to personally, yes personally, offer her that 20% off my first two books, not that she needs my e-books, of course. She does know a thing or two about photography. But now she gets a courtesy copy of my new e-book, PLUS, just like all of you, Annie L can save $2 or $4 purchasing one or both of my other two books. Doesn't that make you feel like there's only a few degrees of separation between you and Annie Leibovitz? It does me. Well, sort of. Okay. Maybe not. But still, right?

CLICK HERE for "Guerrilla Glamour."

For "Guerrilla Headshots," CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE for "Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography."

After you arrive at the sites, click on the Add to Cart buttons if you're of a mind to purchase. If it's one of my first two e-books, when your shopping cart appears tap in the discount code, GIDDY, update the cart, and your total will automatically reflect 20% off. I just know this deal is making you feel, as it is me, giddy like a school kid!

Speaking of giddy, I got a little giddy when I was working Devin, pictured above. So much so, I shadowed her with my camera almost everywhere she went. That's how I snagged the photo of Devin primping in the mirror in the shot above.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My New e-Book is Available to Purchase

My new e-book, Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography, is now available to purchase. It's priced at $9.95 (USD) just as my two previous e-books were. You can learn more about this e-book (and purchase it if you're so inclined) by CLICKING HERE.

I can't express how relieved I am to finally have this book completed and released. I put so many friggin' hours and lots of hard work into it! Course, I'm no stranger to hard work. What with having to get up, go to sets, photograph beautiful women in varying stages of dress and undress... Hey! C'mon! It's a tough job! Someone's gotta do it.

Besides, writing's tough work too! And someone has to do that as well! What would the world be if no one put any hard work into things like writing and photographing beautiful women? A damn less exciting, entertaining, and informative world, that's what!

For my next book, I'm going to try to figure out a way to bring both those kinds of hard work together. Sort of like the convergence of stills and video in the same dSLR. All I'll need is some hot models to hang around and look pretty while I beat on my keyboard and kick out another e-book. They should also, of course, be hanging out in varying stages of dress and undress while I'm beating... Wait. Did that come out right? Dudes! I meant beating on the keyboard while I'm writing! Get your minds out of the gutter! It's getting crowded down here!

Kidding aside, the book is done. I'm toast. I'm gonna try to do as little as possible for a couple of days.

Anyway, I would be remiss if I didn't post the link to my new e-book at least twice in the same update so here it is again: You can CLICK HERE to read about and/or purchase my newest masterpiece... or whatever it might actually be.

The pretty girl at the top is Charmane. What? You thought I might go all high-brow "author" on you and not post a pretty girl pic with this update? Photographers please.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pre-Launch Jitters

I'm nearly ready to launch my new e-book, Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography. I've put a lot of work into it and, for the last few days, have added constructing the book's web page to that work.

I still have a few passes to make over the e-book's text: Proofing, more editing, a bit more revising. Still, for all intents and purposes, it's done. Looks like it will be 137 pages. It was 152 pages but I whacked a bunch of stuff out: Mostly, those parts which were, in my opinion, occasionally bombastic and over-written. Leastwise, in my mind that's what the cut stuff represented.

Now, I'm getting the jitters.

I'm jittered (jittering?) because I'm unsure how many photographers are truly interested in the sort of stuff I wrote about.

Many photography e-books target the various photographer markets with books filled with photos, lighting diagrams, tutorials, gear suggestions, and more. My two previous e-books, Guerrilla Glamour and Guerrilla Headshots took that sort of approach for their respective genres. This new one doesn't.

Many photography e-books target the "how-to" crowd providing recipe-like techniques and suggesting all the "instant pudding" ingredients necessary to make good looking photos. This new one of mine doesn't.

Instead, Zen and the art of Portrait Photography is aimed at photographers who want something beyond the usual stuff. It focuses on key elements of all genres of portrait photography that are, especially in the digital photography age, sometimes overlooked or neglected in spite of their importance to capturing truly memorable images of people. That is, beyond a photo's technical qualities or various pre-packaged effects and treatments which may have been applied to the image.

In other words, it's the subject and format of the e-book which is giving me the jitters: I'm simply not sure how large of a target audience there is for this sort of photography e-book. I guess I'm going to find out rather soon.

The image up top is one of the photos I'm using on my web page for the new book. In case you're disappointed I didn't post one of my customary pretty girl pics, here's one below. It's a dressed/undressed diptych of model, Sofia.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Zen and Portrait Photography

I've been working my tush off. Don't worry. I have plenty enough tush to spare.

Specifically, I've been working my tush off on my newest ebook, "Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography." I've invested so many freakin' hours into this ebook I'm Zen'd out!

I began writing it, I don't know, I think in early Spring of this year. Maybe earlier, especially if you count outlining and thinking and thinking about it some more. In the last week or so alone I've put well over 100 hours into it. But finally, FINALLY, it's done!

Course, there's done and there's done.

To paraphrase Miracle Max from the film, "The Princess Bride," Whoo-hoo-hoo! Look who knows so much. It just so happens the ebook is only MOSTLY done. There's a big difference between mostly done and all done. Mostly done is slightly not done. With all done, well, with all done there's only one thing to do. (And I hope to do that by late next week... publish and release it, that is.)

I still have, I don't know, a few days of editing, proofing, more editing, more proofing and probably a bit of rewriting too. Probably a bit more than a bit of rewriting. Like I said it's MOSTLY done. But mostly done still deserves another whoo-hoo-hoo, don't ya think? So, here goes: Whoo-hoo-hoo!

Some of you might notice a slight title change to the ebook. Hey! Nothing in life is guaranteed. Things change. Shit happens. Sometimes we think the journey is all mapped out and set in stone when all of a sudden a slight detour is in order. And I stress the word "slight."

When I decided to slightly change the title, taking a slight detour as it were, I only did so after giving it long and serious thought. I even conferred with my ebook-authoring consiglieri and he concurred. The decision to do so wasn't an easy one to make. Fortunately, doing so didn't require changing all that much in terms of what I'd already written and where I was going with what still needed to be written.

What I've done by making this change, I think, I hope, is given the ebook wider, somewhat more universal appeal. Is that such a bad thing?

Anyway, I'm toast. I just finished putting another 12 hours into the book today. And even still, cuz I'm the kinda guy I am, I'm taking some time to update the blog. What a guy, right? And don't think I'm updating without also posting a pretty girl pic. I'm not. So here's one of Cody, below.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When the Internet Goes Down

For most of the Labor Day weekend, I had no internet. This past Friday morning, the morning before the start of the long holiday weekend, our internet suddenly went out. Not just the internet, but cable TV too. Nice. Not.

After nearly an hour on hold with our service provider, a technician finally came on the phone. The technician guided us through all sorts of tests and ways to get our modem jump-started, all to no avail.

The technician also ran a number of tests from his end. He even "pinged' our modem, or so he told us. That sounded more like something submarines do with sonar but what do I know?

No matter, even with all the tests and jump-start attempts and pinging, we had no connection. The technician then delivered the bad news: he advised us the problem was our wireless modem. He told us our modem was toast, history, finito! Well, maybe not in those exact words but those are the words that flashed in my brain as the technician continued talking about our modem in a postmortem way. He then explained they would need to mail us a new one. We could expect it to arrive the following Thursday.

Say what???

Almost a week without internet access? Not to mention the cable TV? A freaking week? Especially with the "Sons of Anarchy" season premier coming up in a few days? Was he shitting me?

No. Apparently, he was not.

We could, however, pay $150 to have a technician come out the next day and replace the modem. It was a weekend, after all-- Premium charges for weekend visits.


Ping this, pal! No thank you.

After steaming about this for a few hours, we called again and waited another hour for someone to get on the line. When they did, we turned up the heat. Finally, after this new technician had to endure plenty of whining, moaning, bitching and more coming from our end (we might have even pinged his ass a few times) we were given a "special weekend number" we could try calling the following day, Saturday.

The next day, we called the "special number." Someone special, I suppose, answered almost immediately. After explaining our special situation to the special person on the other end of the special number, the special person agreed to send someone out by 4 PM... and without the special, premium charge. In fact, at no charge at all. Wasn't that special?

It was.

Minutes before 4 PM, a technician showed up. He did a little of this and a little of that and announced there was no problem with our modem whatsoever. Good news! Of course, the bad news was the problem was at their "hub."

"Where's your hub?" I asked.

"Just down the street," he answered.

"Can't you just ping it or something?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"Well, when can you fix the hub?" I hesitantly inquired

"Sometime tomorrow," he told me.

Tomorrow wasn't as great or special as I was hoping for but it beat the crap out of waiting till the following Thursday. Plus, if we had waited till the following Thursday without insisting a tech showed up over the weekend, we'd be right back to "square one" on the following Thursday since the problem, as it turned out, wasn't the modem.

A few minutes before 4 PM on Sunday, the special tech returned. Mission accomplished! The hub, whatever a hub is, was repaired. All he now had to do was perform a few tests at the house, maybe fiddle a little with this or ping that, and we'd be back on line.

The tech went about his testing and fiddling and pinging and, in no time at all, "Tah dah!" We had internet and television back on line.


But let me back up a bit...

When the internet first went out, and after bitching, moaning, and sulking about it for a while, I decided to use my time, suddenly free of the temptations of Facebook, photo forums, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Facebook, porn, Facebook, and more Facebook, and do something constructive with my time.

And that's exact-o-mundo what I did!

I bent my head down and dove back into my newest ebook which, for a few months, had been left a bit over half-done with me only making barely productive attempts to finish it.

So, I dove back into it like a madman. I put hours and hours into it, probably 18 hours on Saturday and another 18 on Sunday. Even when our internet returned, I kept my nose to the grindstone! (I never quite understood the adage about noses and grindstones. Did people once do that? Damn! That had to hurt!)

On Monday, Labor Day, I continued laboring. Same for Tuesday and, outside of writing this blog update, it's the same thing I'm doing today!

As a result, I anticipate completing this ebook by the end of this coming weekend! I might even have it available sometime next week. Leastwise, that's the plan.

Sometimes, good things come out of not-so-good things. Or, perhaps those not-so-good things aren't as not-so-good as we sometimes think?

The gratuitous, sullen-looking, half-naked pretty girl at the top is Alexa. She looks fairly forlorn, as if she might have, besides losing most of her clothes, also lost her internet as well.