Archive: July 2010   |   View all recent posts

One Person's Junk...
WHO: Me   |   WHAT: Random, Travel   |   WHEN: July 31, 2010   |   WHERE: Canton, TX

... can be another person's junk for the low, low price of [insert your offer here]. 

Yesterday Kylie & I and her parents went to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX to get a quick fix for any desire we may have had to have a garage sale any time in the next several years.  In hindsight, I can't think of a better thing to do than walk around 100+ acres of what I can only describe as the world's biggest garage sale in 100+ temperatures.  I mean really, who wouldn't want to walk around for hours with your shirt stuck to your skin and sweat dripping in your eyes while looking at bird houses made of license plates, rusted car parts converted into yard "art", and used spark plugs from 1977?  What can I say?  We're livin' the dream.

Actually I'm being unfair wih the sarcasm; there's actually a fair amount of some pretty unique new retail items in addition to old treasures to be found at Canton.  Unfortunately you won't see hardly any of them on this blog because unbeknownst to me before we arrived, it's actually against the rules to photograph any of the stuff for sale without the owner's consent, and based on all the "absolutely no photoraphing or sketching signs posted in the booths and shops, I'm guessing most weren't in teh consenting mood.  I was politey reminded of this by a gentleman who looked like the kind of guy who could smile and make you feel like his best friend while at the same time permanently disabling you with some Jedi mind trick if he so desired. 

I did manage to sneak a few images in while in stealth mode, though. Actually, it was more like ignorance mode.  All the images posted were taken before I was aware of the strict rules against photography, and even then there were plenty of things to photograph that weren't for sale... I was just too hot to put forth the effort in most cases.

I was really stoked when I stumbled on these old microphones and was all set to buy the one in the front lower left foreground in the image below (with the black slots).  As I was reaching for my wallet to pull out the $35 I thought it cost, I walked just a bit further around it and noticed the "2" I couldn't see from the first angle.  $235 was a bit lot more than I wanted to pay for a non-working microphone, no matter how cool it looked.


9,688,896 Minutes
WHO: My Trusty Alarm Clock   |   WHAT: Random   |   WHEN: July 27, 2010   |   WHERE: The Night Stand

September of 1991.  Almost 19 years.  9,688,896 minutes... that's how much life I've lived with this stupid alarm clock.  It's not fancy by today's standards... no CD player, no gently crashing wave alarm sounds that make you have to go to the bathroom, no iPod/iPhone hook-up.  The radio barely works anymore... and only gets some random opera music station [playing in the background as I type this].  The minute button is hard to press and you have to angle your finger just right to get it to work.  It just tells time.  And it's been doing it for appx 9,688,896 minutes. How many other things do I have that I can say are still (quasi) working after that long?  None.  And to boot it only cost about $25 when I bought it.

The alarm clock's been relegated to guest room duties since I got married, and tonight I dusted it off as I cleaned the room in preparation for Kylie's parents coming to visit later this week.  It's missing the battery door on the bottom, so it's got one sharp corner that has started scratching the wood in the night stand it sits on any time it gets moved, and for that reason I decided tonight it's time to send it on to it's un-glorious final resting place.

Here's the thing, though; as ridiculous as it sounds, I got a bit sentimental for a few minutes tonight thinking about this clock (hence the photo) and reminiscing about all the things that have happened - good and bad - in my life over the last almost 19 years.  How many things have come and gone, been celebrated and mourned, friends made and relationships faded, etc over the course of 9,688,896 minutes?    This clock has been with me for over half my life, and that's pretty amazing to me.  And in a weird way - and maybe this is the soft opera music getting to me in the background - it's a little sad to see it go because it's one of the few things I've had for a long time and consequently feels like I'm letting a little piece of my past go.  This silly little inanimate object has taken on tangible meaning for me.  I guess I equate it to a Toy Story movie waiting to happen, except Woody is replaced by this dumb, no-name digital alarm clock.  [NOTE: if you see any movies about sentimental alarm clocks as the main characters come out in the next couple years, you heard it here first... and I expect a big, fat royalty check.]

I think back to all the late nights I crawled into bed and just stared at the red numbers, unable to fall asleep for awhile in thinking about all the things still to be done and things that would never get 'done'.  And then I was reminded of these words from the song "When There's No One's Around" by Garth Brooks (well, his remake of it):  "It's 4 in the mornin', I'm lyin' in bed.  A tape of my failures playin' inside my head.  It's heart aches and hard knocks and things I don't know.  I listen and I wonder where will it go."  I love that song becuase the message is about who we are - the good and the bad - when no one else is around.  And this clock has seen it all.

Wow, it's late, and I better wrap up this post before I start talkin' about how this clock made me who I am today.  (The opera music is definitely gettin' to me now.)  So long, no-iPodin', no CD playin', no wave soundin', no minute buttonin', opera musicin' alarm clock.  Hope you've enjoyed the ride. 

Let's see what the next 9,688,896 minutes brings.  Check back July of 2029 for an update.


A New Sheriff In Town
WHO: Mian and Alice   |   WHAT: Dogs   |   WHEN: July 25, 2010   |   WHERE: The Backyard
Say hello to Alice.  She recently acquired new parents in our next door neighbors Chase and Denise, and so by proxy she also gained a new best buddy in Mia.  Alice was over for a play date with Mia last night, and here's a few images from their K-9 carousing.

Looks innocent enough, right?

Mia laughed at her at first. 

Mia... no longer laughing.  This is her oh-no,-is-she-behind-me?-she's-behind-me-isn't-she? look.  You can always tell when Mia's a little nervous because her right ear, which usually stands up, lays down and covers her forehead.  Alice is an instigator.

Annnnd this is pretty much how the rest of the evening went.

Either as a sign of protest or an affection for onions, Mia has recently started digging in the garden.  She hasn't yet figured out how to cover her tracks.  Guilty!


Shooting for Yourself
WHO: Me   |   WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: July 23, 2010   |   WHERE: Somewhere between Austin & Dallas
On Monday night I was in Austin speaking to the Austin Professional Photographers Association about "Finding Extraordinary in the Ordinary", and on the way back home to Dallas Tuesday I took some time to put into practice part of my message from the night before... carving out time to shoot for for myself.

I had a big long post typed up when technology consipred against me and wiped out the entire thing a couple minutes ago when I went to save and post it. A cruel irony, indeed, when the act of saving erases all your efforts. It's now 3:47 in the morning, and my eyelids and babble filter don't have enough juice to re-write the whole thing at this time.  So, for those of you that never read the books in high school and just used the Cliff Notes to do your book reports, today's your lucky day.  Here's the condensed version...

Unless you do your homework whe you start a photography business - and I clearly didn't - nobody tells you how little time you'll actually spend, well, photographing.  You won't know how much time you'll instead spend reading, learning, marketing, selling, order filling, order checking, editing, client contacting, cleaning, tax prepping, insurance'ing, equipment researching/buying, equipment fixing, scheduling, business plan writing, policy-writing, book-keeping, sample ordering, etcetera'ing.  I remember when I first started out thinking, but I just wanna create great photographs, I don't wanna do all that other stuff!  Truth be told, I still have that same mindset today, but it just doesn't work that way.  (Note:  if it is working that way for you, you might wanna re-evaluate whether you've got a photography business or an expensive hobby.)

To make a long story short (I told you my babble filter was out of juice this late at night), it's easy to get stuck in a rut to where you feel like a robot because all you're doing is all those things listed above in addition to trying to satisfy your clients with great images they'll love.  When that happens, picking up a camera can easily start to feel like a chore rather than a passion.  I'd like to encourage you to find some time to shoot for yourself in order to keep your perspective fresh, your creative batteries recharged and your passion alive, even if it's only for a few minutes here and there.  I promise you your clients will benefit from it as well.

Here's a few of my favorites from the drive home.

These first couple images are just outside of Salado, TX north of Austin.  I can't believe I'd never visited Salado before now; it was a beautiful town with a quaint feel and lots of history and B&B's.  The people here are incredibly nice, too, as I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman named Bob who not only owns the property in this first image, but he told me about the place with the waterfall in the second image.  Had I not met him, I would not have gotten several of the images that follow because most of them were found on the way to the waterfall place.

I had never seen fences lined with old white-painted bicycles before, but I saw two of them near Salado.  Very cool.

Found this old truck way back in the weeds off of interstate 35.  Score!  I love stuff like this, and it was the perfect time to get a little sun flare coming through the truck window.  The whole time I was taking this series of images I was thinking, Please don't get chiggers.  Please don't get chiggers.

This dilapidated house was right near the old truck.  Double score!

Drove through downtown Dallas to get back home and stopped briefly near the new Winspear Opera House to walk around.  These tables were just outside the building in a courtyard.

I like the reflection action going on this last one.  Notice the photographer in the middle doing some senior photography with 3 girls laying in the shallow water.  Triple score!


Featured Speaker @ Austin PPA Mtg Next Week
WHO: Me   |   WHAT: News   |   WHEN: July 14, 2010   |   WHERE: Austin, TX

This coming Monday, 7/19, I'll be speaking about "Finding Extraordinary in the Ordinary" at the Austin Professional Photographer's Association July meeting, so if you're in the area, come on out to the Dave and Buster's in north Austin and enjoy the show.

I'll be talking [for 2 hours - zoinks!] about my approach to my personal work and finding amazing images to photograph regardless of where you are.  I'll touch on how this approach feeds into my client work as well, and just for fun I'll probably do a couple quick Photoshop demos, too.  Should be fun... or an epic technological fail.   Either way, worth seeing.

The deadline to RSVP for the APPA mtg is June 15th, and the cost to attend - if you RSVP on time - is $25 for APPA members (includes dinner) or $35 for non-members (includes dinner).  Add $5 if you don't RSVP. 

Check-in and social time (get your mingle on) starts at 6pm, and at 6:30pm sharp check-in ends and dinner is served.  The meeting starts at 7pm and I believe I'm on from 7:30-9:30pm.  You can find all the details and RSVP on the APPA website by going here.

Please don't email me if you have questions about the format, logistics, cost, etc, as I am just the messenger.  I believe there is a contact link on the APPA mtg page where you can ask any questions you might have about those types of things.

Hope you can make it out! 


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