Monday, November 30, 2009

Maintenance man does plastic surgery while buffing table

It's late Sunday. The end is in sight of this 29-image apartment digital maintenance job for my Arizona client. The request on this photograph was to "buff out the ping pong table, reduce the glare on the wall behind the treadmill and minimize ceiling ventilation system." And correct for perspective.

Buffing the table scratches was easy using the buffing (Adobe calls it clone or healing) tool in Camera Raw Converter.

The bright sun spot on the wall behind the treadmill–which I personally liked–was much more difficult. Selecting the area and using curves didn't work very well.

Digital plastic surgery to the rescue. I selected a section of the wall to the right of the treadmill and pasted it on top of the bright spot. But the selection wasn't large enough, so I pasted the selection again slightly to the left, overlapping the first paste job. With a little change in opacity and some masking on the edges, it looked like a pro plastic surgeon job.

Arrg to that bright spot on the carpet. No problem. Plastic surgery to the rescue again. I found a piece about the same texture size towards the middle of the room and pasted it on top of the hot carpet, corrected color and luminosty and went for a glass of wine, leaving my Mac to save the Maintenance Man's surgery for posterity.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Light Pollution Floods Our Home

Our neighbor put a new light on his barn.

Normally our rural area is dark enough to see the Milky Way on a clear night. With the new barn light, the Milky disappeared. Even though the barn is almost 1/4 mile away, I took the above photograph just using his barn light flooding into our house. I can even read large print at night without any additional light.

While I'm grateful that I don't have to drag out my photo lights for photography in our house, I would still like to see the darkness of night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maintenance Man survives on Bread & Butter

Wednesday: I continue optimizing and digitally cleaning up apartments for my Arizona client. This is what pros call Bread & Butter work. I love Bread & Butter.

Removing the signs under the light took more than an hour because of the uneven light. If the light were even, it would have been a 2 minute job.

So how many other changes do you see between the before (above) and after (below) photos? (I just realized I left all of the color corrections in the before photo.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday: Apartment Maintence and prunning

So today it's more cleaning, digital pruning of dead tree branches and combining two exposures to make the "View Shot" (above) at some Lake Oswego apartments. And people constantly tell me that a photographer's life is exciting.

OK. Can you see the difference in the before (top below) and after (below below) photos? Be sure to check out the bird feeder the client wanted removed. And there's more that a sharp-eyed gardener could easily tell.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday: spent the day cleaning Apartments

Today I spent the day cleaning up apartments.

That's digitally cleaning them for clients. Some manage complexes that are not necessarily the most glamorous on the block. But my clients need attractive bait to reel in customers. So I clean up apartments for the fishermen (and women). Actually, I really enjoy the challenge.

You can see the kind of cleaning I do from these before (top) and after (bottom) photographs. This one was simple and took only a few moments. Please be kind. Tell me that you could never tell the cleaning just from the after photo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Publisher Goes Bankrupt

After 30-some years as one of the most respected Table Top Photographic Book publishers, Graphic Arts Publishing went belly up. Mike Campbell, the main marketing/sales guy, lamented it was a combination of the state of book publishing and the economy. Michael Powell, owner of Powell's Books, blames the demise on declining book sales, the difficult economy and fewer independent bookstores, which was "the bread and butter for them."

So what does this storm in the publishing world mean for my latest little book?
I can't see the whole picture yet for the waves.

The immediate consequences:
• I'm having troubles ordering the book. One Ingram (the giant distributor which bought part of Graphic Arts) representative told me, "all of the books in the warehouse were spoken for." Sounds as if there are no more books.
• I have to fill out a one-page Ingram form, which they are suppose to have emailed, so that I can even be on the list to order books. Then I get a 30-40% discount instead of the contracted 50%. Irrelevant if there are no books.
• Don't know the status of a second printing.

When I decided to go with Graphic Arts for Oregon The Taste of Wine, I knew they were on shaky soil. But Ingram–they must represent some 100 publishers–had just bought part of the company. I thought no problem.

Lesson learned:
• In the next book contract I need more than the standard "Failure to Perform" clause. I need to address belly upping. I think it's a trend for book publishing.
• My next books will have a strong web component. I love picture books. Stay tuned, two are grinding in the mill.

I would appreciate suggestions,
philosophical or practical.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Check out this vineyard in a hole

Tom Shreve came up after I did a presentation at the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge to tell me about an unusual vineyard he had seen on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands in the Arecife area. Check out his photos.

Here's what Tom said about the vineyard: "
The photos were taken in November of 2005 and one out a bus window.

"You can see that there are the round pits and also some with shallower pits and a horseshoe shaped wall. The walls help catch moisture as I recall.

"The pits are large so they have to climb down to harvest. They told us they get a lot of grapes from each pit, I recall it as being in the hundreds of pounds."

Anyone else experienced unusual vineyards?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Does China have Wineries or What

"I didn't know that the Chinese had wineries," is the usual response I get when I tell friends that I'm doing a book on Chinese Vineyards & Wineries.

Well, they do. In fact, the Chinese have more vineyard acreage than the United States and South Africa combined. And the Chinese produce more wine than Germany.

Check out some of the wineries I've visited.

Yes, the Chinese do wineries, big wineries.