Friday, October 5, 2018

Trying to Figure Out What Comes Next

By now most of my family and friends have heard that our house was struck by lightning earlier this week. While our house is still sound, we did sustain damage to much of our electronic equipment. This included frying our router and modem.. and also our server. 

What this means is that while I can go out and buy a new router and modem (which we did)... I cant replace the images that were lost on the server. Every single photo I have taken for the last twenty years is gone. There is hope that some might be recoverable, but hopes are not high. This means that all of my personal photos as well as those I took for clients and friends are gone. 

I have lots of regrets.... tons of regrets. I wish I had made enough money to afford the backup storage to the cloud. I wish I had burned hard copies of my images to DVD/CD/Flash memory. I wish I had made books for my kid and relatives so they would own hard copies of some of these great family photos. 

But that is all stuff I wish I had done. I didnt do them. The reasons were pretty obvious: lack of money. I also thought having a server set up in RAID would offer magical protection from catastrophic failure. As my dad said: lightning doesn't strike twice... well, yeah it does. This is our second lightning strike. Last one killed all of the big white pines along our driveway. I am pretty sure the coma eight years ago counts as a lightning strike too. 

I am sorry I hadn't made enough money to afford a gigantic dropbox account with 10TB of space.
I am sorry I didnt save disks with everyone's photos on them.

I wish I had done it differently.

I wish I had some idea what comes next, but I just dont.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Once Again

Storm clouds between downpours. Metaphor for my experience?

For the second time in less than eight years, I am closing up shop. Back in June of 2016, I started working at Cornell Dairy Extension as part of the Food Science Department of Cornell University. It was part time, temp, admin stuff. Over the past few months the job has grown, the responsibilities have increased, full time work beckoned. In the end, there are just not enough hours in the day. Last month, I decided to close the photography studio. It hadn't been bringing in enough money to justify keeping the lights on. Without a massive push in advertising and marketing, we were stuck in neutral. Working as much as I have been since the New Year, I just didn't have it in me. Nancy and I talked it through, multiple times, until realizing that all of the best aspects of the business were still available to me, but I could jettison the parts that drove me nuts. So I closed the business but retained most of my gear. Some is being slowly sold off... mostly my Nikon gear. I am still shooting, although not nearly as often. I tend to find myself with just my phone in hand at opportune times. I have to say, as much as it pains me, these new iPhones really have killed the compact camera. The images they can create are fantastic... but more importantly, I can edit the images immediately, in that instant... which opens up a whole different level of possibilities.

I expect that the blog will most likely die off since there are precious few who read it during the active stages of the business. See you on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Closing Time

Not that it should come as a huge surprise to anyone, but the photography world has changed. I have found myself asking how I could change with it over the past seven years. While one could make all sorts of salient arguments about technology or about the ubiquitous smart phones with great cameras... I dont think any of that was to blame. I see very similar issues between my struggles as a potter and as a photographer. At the end of the day, both are businesses. No matter how much talent one might have, running a business is a different sort of talent.

Yesterday I sent out a brief email letting folks know greater details about how they could retrieve any images they might have been wanting to have printed or backed up onto their computer. For seven years I have watched my hard drives fill up faster than I could count. I backed up everything. Then I realized that I had to pay for off-site storage too. Just a cost of doing business.

Bit by bit, I have been looking at those costs of doing business and asking what changes needed to happen in order to keep things afloat. I've taken workshops and classes on business management. What I learned from them is that I needed to focus more on raising prices, finding my niche, educating my niche clientele and putting my energy into making money. I realized that I would rather make art.

To that end, I am stepping away from the business. Closing up shop. I'll still be making images with my cameras, but it wont be a full time venture. I will still do some product photography for artists who are trying to get into better shows and exhibitions. I might do a wedding or two, now and then.... but I am letting go of the idea that just because I enjoy being a photographer that somehow means I have to make a living from it.

Best wishes,

Friday, October 7, 2016


Sometimes, when I am driving around in the fall, the sky will light up with fiery clouds and fierce winds. The night I saw this, I was returning home from a portrait shoot. I had photographed cheese making at work earlier in the day, then headed right out for a portrait session after getting home. By the time our session ran out of daylight, I figured I was done for the day. Midway home I passed this open valley... not five miles from my house... and the clouds were just beginning to race across the sunset. Five minutes later and the sky was pale grey purple and the sun was long below the horizon.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fall Color Begins

Early morning color

Thanks to my commute, I am usually walking to catch the bus as the sun comes up. Lately the sky has had some fantastic color happening.

One of the things I have learned from this summer's drought is that without regular rain, clouds are almost non-existant. This year, the last "normal" rain we had was back in April. After a very dry winter, we had an incredibly dry spring followed by extreme drought all summer.

Without clouds sunsets and sunrise color tends to be extremely bland. I don't think I ever really appreciated summer storms quite this way before. Here's hoping that now that the Autumn switch has been flipped we might see some deep fall rains.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend in NYC

Summertime and the Living is Sweaty

Lodi Point on Seneca Lake, Fuji XT1, 12mm Zeiss f/2.8

Not nearly enough swimming this summer. I have only been in the lake twice. Too hot to swim? Never thought I would think so... but this summer the water hasn't brought much relief. You get out of the nice cool water and the sweating starts before you've toweled dry. Ugh.

My friend Carrie was here from Chicago with her friend Jari (from Finland) last week. We hiked up and down Treman Gorge a few times in the evening and again in the morning, trying to capture the falls in just the right light.

Jari had the coolest travel tripod. Folded down into almost nothing. He used it non-stop to create long exposure images. I can't wait to see what he created once he gets home and can post images on FB.