Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some info about stock photography

Just for fun, today I got together some of my sales reports from UpperCut Images and checked out which photos have been selling in my collection. I downloaded the photos and opened them all in Photoshop, then used Apple's incredible (life saving) feature called "Exposé" to see all them at once. It looks pretty cool. So here is a screenshot.

I get a lot of emails from photographers asking if my photos sell in stock, which ones sell, which agencies to sign up with, etc etc etc... Hopefully this will help answer some of those questions. Feel free to ask more questions anytime though, I love helping people out with stock stuff.

Check out the screenshot above, it's a good sampling of some of my photos that have sold in the past few months. If an image is on there more than once, that means it sold more than once. I have sales each month and get a royalty check every month, sometimes it's $200, sometimes it's $2,000, it's all over the place. It's definitely not enough to live on, but thats the goal someday. I just need to keep shooting like crazy and building up the collection with high quality images. It's a numbers game. More the better, but the quality needs to be there too.

Without a doubt my biggest inspiration in this whole stock game has been an awesome guy named Ralph Clevenger. I was lucky enough to have him for a few different classes at Brooks and I've never learned more from anyone, ever. When people ask me what I want to do with my career, I usually just say, I want to be Ralph. :)
Definitely check out his beautiful images on his brand new site, and his huge collection on Corbis (search: "Ralph Clevenger")

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Monday, June 25, 2007

1 hour exposure with the Canon 5d

Last year I did a post (see it here) of a 30 minute exposure with the Canon 5d. I've done a few since then, but a few nights ago I did the longest I've tried with digital, 1 hour! It actually looks pretty good. Not sure if the 100% view would pass the quality control inspection for a stock agency, what do you think?

Even if it was a perfect file though, it's not really realistic to shoot digital for exposures longer than 15 minutes, because the camera has to do something called "noise reduction" and it takes just as long as the exposure. So, for a 1 hour exposure, it took 2 hours for that shot to finish and be saved to the CF card, which ate through the battery in 1 shot. We were camping in Idaho when I took this, so I just left the camera out overnight and went to bed. :)

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

We made it!

Our road trip to Michigan is done... until we have to drive back in a few weeks of course!
This is our car when we arrived. We managed to sacrifice a few bugs on the way here, hopefully most were mosquitoes!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Update from the road

Were somewhere in the middle of nowhere Minnesota right now. Still have 929 miles to go! Were just glad to be done with North Dakota, that was the most boring state I have ever been to! Don't have much time to write now so I'll just leave you with a few pretty pictures from the trip so far...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2,444 miles

Were taking off in a few minutes for a sweet road trip! We don't have any weddings or shoots going on from now until July 21st, so were driving from Hood River Oregon to Harrison Township Michigan to spend a few weeks with Bethany's family there. Were hoping to spend some time in Glacier National Park and a couple other cool places along the way, so I'll try to update when I can!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mt. Hood and Hood River Valley (I love this place)

Yesterday was a fun day. It was Bethany and I's 2nd year anniversary. It's not like the big 1, 5, 20 or 50 year landmarks, so we didn't do anything extravagant, but we did have a fun day. We started off with a drive to Portland for a couple of client meetings, which, believe it or not, are really fun! We get to meet cool people and show them pretty photos. :) We love our job!

Then we cruised around in Portland for a little bit, went to the Patagonia store, didn't buy anything though because it's realllly expensive there, and we recently spent like $1,200 at REI on things for our upcoming trip. So we just browsed. :)

On the way home scored some gas for $2.91 (felt good to be in the 2's) at the good ol' Troutdale Flying J truck stop. There is always great things to see at the Flying J. Love it.

Got back to Hood River and the weather was just incredible. Not much wind (very unusual), warm temperatures, clear air, and cool clouds all came together, and it makes Hood River this magical place when this happens. It's impossible to describe really, you have to experience it yourself... Come visit us!

I of course had my camera in the car, so we cruised up to Odell and got some incredible views of Mt Hood!

The photo above is one that I took. It kinda feels like a postcard photo, but when I look at that photo, it just makes me feel good. Brings back a lot of great memories. My first job at age 14 was at Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort working in a little snack shop called the "Meadow Mart". Those were good times. I always worked with good friends, and we all got free tickets for all the snowboarding we wanted, so we'd take the bus up in the morning and work all day then ride all night, or vice versa. My boss called me "Nacho Boy" because I made them so good. The key was to layer the chips and cheese, so you had cheese on all the chips and not just the top ones. Then one day my boss said I gave the customers too many "pumps" of cheese and they were losing money on them, haha. So he stopped calling me Nacho Boy. I worked that job 4 years before I moved onto another great job as a bellman at the Columbia Gorge Hotel.
So that is just one reason why I love looking at photos of Mt Hood.

Another thing that I like about the photo is all the apple and pear trees in the foreground. I used to ride my bike to school and cut though a couple orchards instead of going on the road. When they were in season, I would grab a couple apples or pears off the trees for my lunch. They were sooo good, you can't find better apples or pears anywhere!

Then after exploring all that Odell has to offer we hit up the best spot for Mexican food in Hood River, the Taqueria! Mmm tacos! Here is a snapshot.

I could go on and on... but I'll spare you. But congrats on getting this far! Not sure why I'm all the sudden getting personal on my blog... I think I've been inspired by my finally blogging buddy Peter.

I guess thats all I have for now. A lot of exciting stuff coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Road trip to Berkeley

Bethany and I are on a road trip with my parents... it's been fun so far! Were driving from Hood River to Berkeley for a friends wedding that is later today.

Last night I was taking a photo of the gas station and my Mom jumped in front of the camera... so I couldn't resist posting it to embarrass her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What the heck is it?

On my other blog I like to do a little feature called "What the heck is it?" where I take a weird looking photo of something and you have to guess what the heck it is! Well, usually someone guesses within a couple days... but nobody has guessed this one yet and it's been a few weeks! This blog gets way more traffic than my the snapshot blog, so I want some more people from here to go over there and guess what it is!

*CLICK HERE* to see the post and leave a comment on that blog with your guess! I might even give away a special prize to the winner of this one! :)

So far the guesses are: mushroom, plant, bellows?, an open book, and a fan! None are even close!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Congrats Jason and Nicole Leverich!

Bethany and I shot another fun wedding this weekend in Hood River, Oregon. Congrats to the happy bride and groom, Nicole and Jason Leverich! Small town weddings are so fun because everyone knows each other and it makes for a super fun atmosphere to celebrate a new marriage. The ceremony was down at the Hood River Inn's Gorge Room and afterwards was a smaller reception in a beautiful newly remodeled "old barn" at an AMAZING 1,400 acre ranch in Mosier, Oregon (Tiny little town of 400 people!). The ranch raises Scottish Highland Cattle which are pretty funny looking animals.

Check out the full slideshow *HERE* and here are a few favorites-

And here is a fun shot of us that our friend Sarah McAllister snapped while we were getting the perfect shot. Guess I had to be super low for that one! Sarah is pursuing a photography degree at Mt. Hood Community College and this summer she is our interning/assisting with us! Check out her cool photo blog HERE!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dreamy house and tree, 30 second exposure

Driving up to Oregon was a pretty good time. I love taking the scenic route on smaller highways because the I-5 is a super boring drive. I much prefer highway 395 where you see cool stuff like in the photo above. No fences, no "no trespassing" signs, no admission fees... perfect.

Last time I included technical notes about a photo people seemed to enjoy it... so I'll try it out again.
I took a couple shots just standing there, and it really wasn't doing it for me. I knew it needed something extra to make it a bit better than the normal. So I got down low which was an improvement, but I knew it could still be better. Then I noticed how the green brush was waving around in the gusts of wind, which was super beautiful, and dare I say... "soothing". Whenever I see brush blowing in the wind, I am *always* reminded of one of the best movies ever, Gladiator. Awesome. Ok back to the point here. I wanted to show that movement in the brush so I grabbed my 10 stop ND filter which allows me to shoot long exposures during the middle of the day. Awesome. I also stacked on my polarizing filter to darken the sky a bit, and maybe pull some extra colors out of the scene. So now I had 12 stops of light being blocked which made it easy to shoot for 30 seconds at about f/11. Awesome.
I actually didn't have my tripod with me (it was in the other car with Bethany and my Mom) so I put my moms suitcase to use. Worked pretty well! (pic)

The other bonus to using a 30 second exposure was that it blurred the moving clouds, which means the house and tree are the only sharp things in the frame, kind of a cool look.
So thats the stuff I did "in camera". Everything after the "in camera" process is called "post" or even "photoshopping" is a popular term these days.
I did a bit more photoshop in this shot than I normally do to my photos. First, I found the best frame for the sky and the best frame for the foreground and I joined them for an ideal frame. As long as you don't move the camera between frames, this is pretty easy to do. Then next step was curves layers. A couple for minor color tweaks, and a couple for some good ol' dodging and burning.
And thats about it! Feel free to ask more questions or leave comments!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Congrats Brennon and Heidi Cardone!

Yesterdays wedding at Convict Lake Resort was so nice! The location was incredible, the weather was perfect, and the bride & groom were so happy to get married. Congrats to Brennon and Heidi Cardone, you two are perfect for each other! Have a blast in the Dominican Republic!

Also a big thanks to Brennons brother Ryan, who recommended us to shoot the wedding. Ryan is a friend I went to Brooks with who does amazing surf/ocean photography, check out his website and his blog!

Here are some of our favorite shots from the day, the best ones are Bethanys! Also check out the full slideshow- *CLICK HERE!*

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Peter Dawson is finally a blogger

My buddy Peter finally started a blog! I've been telling him to do one for a long time because he's an incredible photographer and just an all around inspiring person. I'm gonna stalk his blog... you should too!


Friday, June 01, 2007

Chillin in Mammoth Lakes

Were now in Mammoth Lakes having an awesome time! Our good friends have a newly remodeled condo here that is nothing short of INCREDIBLE that we are staying at. It's so beautiful.

Were shooting a wedding for a really cool couple on Saturday that is going to be so unique and beautiful because it's up in the mountains right at the edge of Convict Lake, and the reception is at the Convict Lake Resort! So awesome.

More coming soon!

Here are a couple pics of our friends condo... not to shabby eh?""