Saturday, August 30, 2003

First Saturday of College Football (one of my holy days)

OK. So we didn't plan this very well. We have several couples coming over and none of them are into college football like we are.

I'm sure I'll update this after watching the games that I'm taping today.

Right now (1:00) I'm watching Georgia push around Clemson and West Virginia frustrate Wisconsin. Lemme say, "Georgia looks impressive." They seemed to have already gelled as a team especially on the lines. For the first couple of series they just outperformed Clemson and it looked like Clemson couldn't match up athelete for athelete. By the end of the 1st Qtr Clemson had started using their schemes to cut down on Georgia's sheer atheleticism and slow the Bulldogs' offense. All I know right now is that I don't think I'm gonna enjoy the UT-GA game. I think their defense will confuse Clausen and completely shutdown our running game. I think their offense will drive up and down the field all day long.

I'll get a look at TN (3:00 ESPN2) when I watch the tapes later tonight. I hope they impress the hell outta me but we went up to the Orange-White day and I watched GA's Red-Black scrimmage and from what I've seen so far, I'm ready to beg for some new lines and something to clear Clausen's head. Sometimes he seems to just get in a fog and be the single most confused person in the stadium (remember, that's after having to teach my wife how football is played -- her family is weird, they didn't raise her to enjoy southern college football).

I'll update later; thanks for stopping by.

I still haven't watched the tape as we watched parts of the game with the sound turned down while we had friends over. I saw some short passes and some defense but nothing to write home about. From what I saw we'll have to play above ourselves against both Florida and Georgia to have a decent chance at beating them. The O-line looked pretty solidified based on Cedrick Houston's rushing but then again, we were playing Fresno State.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003



If you read this then you know that I'm trying to start a photography business of some type on the side. It'll be a long road to reach any level of professionalism with artistic merit (I mean I could go shoot kids at different events but that doesn't take much of an eye to produce something that Mom&Dad and the grandparents will buy). I'm interested in producing commercially viable artistic photos. That means models and still lifes and studios and portraits. To help me on the way I've joined a model/photographer meeting place ( and setup several shoots with models. This week alone I scheduled three shoots: one in Murfreesboro, one in Knoxville and one in Huntsville. The Murfreesboro and Knoxville sessions were canceled as I couldn't get a confirmation from the models. Each had valid reasons for canceling but this is just to point out that starting a business and shooting TFP is an exercise in patience. So far I've scheduled somewhere around 10 photo shoots and actually made 2. I've never scheduled a photo shoot and gone to it the first time; its always been rescheduled. This isn't a problem in the big scheme of things and I hope to increase both my portfolio and several models' portfolios with high quality shots that we can both be proud of. I'm not ranting or angry. Just commenting on the nature of this experiment. My tendancy is to shoot landscapes for a week or two, shoot fauna (animals and insects) for another week or so and then need to setup a photo shoot so that I can get some variety. I'm trying to build some habits and some skills for studio shoots as I hope to build an in-home studio over the next few years. I'm already happier with the shots I take than I was a few months ago. I've gotten some of my eye back for panoramic or nature shots but as this is my first real attempt at learning to shoot models as well as learning to compose creative shots (especially for DPC) I'm finding several facets of this challenging.

This weekend Cindee and I went down to Atlanta and I got to hold the Canon 1D. I never thought I'd want a camera that advanced or that heavy (that thing is like 2 or 3 bricks strapped together but ITS SOLID). Now I know that I would really enjoy setting up some flashes with umbrellas and softboxes, hooking up a sync and shooting until I just wanted to pass out. That camera was just awesome to hold. I love my 10D with its servo and its 6.3 megapixels but the 1D is impressive. Maybe someday I can afford to retire and travel with Cindee shooting beautiful landscapes with whatever passes as the next generation (or maybe two or three generations removed) from the 1D.

'til then,


Monday, August 25, 2003

Lunchtime post

What to blog today.

I ate at my desk and just decided to go ahead and blog something before I got back to the grindstone. But what to blog.

OK. Last night I watched the Mind of the Married Man on HBO. I like this series. It's a show that depicts a married man and his interactions with his wife, his co-workers and his friends. I couldn't tell you the name of any of the characters on the show but its pretty darned accurate. So last night dude's wife sets up and eye test at the optometrist. The doctor is no doctor. She's a female doctor and a classic beauty to boot. You can see his comfort level get tagged about 0.003 seconds after she walks in the room and his libido starts screaming, "Hey, she's totally doable!!" He makes the mistake of telling his friends and they all schedule time to get their eyes checked. Now his personal little battleground of lust vs disconnected observation has become overlain with the multiple levels of desire shown in his friends. In my experience, this demonstrates a mostly male encumberance: that of openly leering at women with friends or making jokes about how attractive women are but then playing demure towards women when the wife is around. He tries to walk this tightrope by not engaging with the guys on the topic of how hot the doctor is but then his wife shows up downtown and mentions that he needs some certificate from the doctor's office and she wants to go with him to pick it up and then get some lunch. Whoa!! My wife meeting a woman that I not only find attractive, I shared that with the guys?!? No way!!! Can't happen!! My worlds can't collide. Of course, she picks up on that and asks what's up so in the heat of the discussion he asks just how much she wants to "know him" (one of her earlier comments about the depth of their relationship). She says that she wants to hear it and then immediately follows it up with "Are you having an affair?" "Nope" "Fooling around?" "No way!" Now see, this just demonstrates what little bit women understand about men. If a man is having an affair or even just stepping all on the line with some flirty touches or suggestive discussion, he's not going to start by asking how much you want to know. He'll keep that little tidbit to himself, hoping that he can have his cake and eat it too. He isn't going to volunteer that he's completely undermined your trust. If a man starts off with "So do you really want to know me? Want to know what I'm dealing with?" Guess what. He's about to open up and show you that he does actually deal with gray areas where he's not sure of the lines and the definitions and that you aren't the only one that doesn't know everything that's happening or how to define it. Some men want to share an honest, open relationship with one woman. But don't think it'll always be neat and tidy. Sometimes we guys are trying to balance the claxon shouts of NOW advocates that say, "Women are exactly the same as men." with the siren softness of hair rinse commercials that show us that women are WAAAYYY different from guys (at least physically).

As one member (pardon the pun) of the male gender of our species, accept it when I say that I love women. I love their bodies, their minds, their jokes and I love that I don't get them. I love that I don't understand their motivations or their desires. From the tips of their lovely little toes to the split ends of their luxuriously long, vibrantly highlighted hair. I just find women to be incredible. Smart ones that challenge my mind and pretty ones that uplift my hindbrain. So many things about any woman can turn me on and pique my interest. However, after seeing women all my life, I only want to be intimate with one. You're all great and sexy and any one could be cool to work through life with but I've found someone that I enjoy fitting into life with. Some other universe might see an alternate me hitting stuff like a six-year-old with an unlimited rides ticket at Disney but in this one, I only want to share my thoughts and life with one woman. I'm sure its difficult to tell us apart and no one gets the "see into the future" card so that you know if the one you're with is a dog or not. All I can say is that as confusing as life is, I like a show that presents some of the conflicts that I live through as people hear some of my comments about women and automatically assume I'm the worst kind of man. So I admit that I find someone attractive. Big deal.

On a separate note, I got my Canon 50mm prime. It is f/1.8 (very fast and very bright lens) and I still haven't shot it yet. I have a photoshoot in Knoxville tomorrow and I hope to get some usage out of it then. I'll post here when I have some updated pics for your perusal.

On DPC I got my highest rating so far - 5.95. Just 5 100th's of a point from 6. I placed 44th out of about 150 pics so that's the top third. I'm pretty happy with that. I'm starting to notice my basic photography skills have improved. I can handhold shots that are about 200mm or less and I generally frame them better than when I started but I'm still not composing compelling stories in my lens. The next contest is Tools and I think I should try some new compositions with my props at home (the backgrounds and colored sheets. This is a member challenge so we probably won't have 150 entries this time again. Maybe I can shoot for the top 25. It'll take some creativity and some work with PS to produce something that breaks into this rarified air but I'm up for it. We'll see in about a week how I do.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, August 24, 2003

First night away

Well, Cindee and I did it. We dropped Katie off for our first night away since she's been born (6 months). She spent the night with my Mom while Cindee and I went to Atlanta. We stayed at the Crown Plaza Buckhead and it was both nice and conveniently located. We went out to Stone Mountain to enjoy the laser light show and found out that if you get there late enough admission to the whole park is free. We showed up at 7:30 and no one was in the ticket booths so we just walked in with the rest of the crowd. It seems to be a smallish park (compared with Six Flags or DisneyWorld or even EPCOT) but it offers several historical southern venues such as a sundries store and glassblowing exhibitions. It would be a nice stop for kids to play around and see the area at the bottom of the monument (we didn't make it to the top of the monument due to time restrictions). We got something to eat, sat and people watched and as the sky began to darken (8:30 or so) we made our way to the grassy area to pick our seats and wait for the show to begin. At 9:30 the show started and we enjoyed cute stories set to southern music including such diverse tunes as Georgia On My Mind (Ray Charles transitioned into Willie Nelson), RockyTop, The Devil Went Down To Georgia and Sweet Home Alabama.

The next morning, we slept late (a novelty if you've ever had a six month old in the house), went to the mall and ate lunch and then stolled and shopped with the IN crowd. You know, the people who's kids get Lexii and Bemmers (BMW's) for their 16th birthday. We were in Buckhead. Anyway, the 9 West store had a great sale and we picked up some funky sandals for Cindee for next to nothing. I went down to the Wolf Camera where I bought my Canon 10D and looked around at some of Canon's glass (17-40mm L USM is the latest and greatest for digital so I was told) but just couldn't find it in my heart (or bank acount) to drop $800 on a lens.

After shopping we came back home and picked up Katie from Mom's, went home and crashed for the evening as all three of us were tired.

Monday, August 18, 2003


Hmmm. Maybe this is the hallmark of professionalism. Never yield or respond to pressure in any but the most unruffled manner. Always present a calm exterior; exude confidence. Always be in control.

The project I'm working on right now has been ongoing for a couple of months. At first, the goals included getting me more familiar with object oriented programming (that we accomplished) and then introducing me to Microsoft's N-Tier design concepts that they've recently espoused with the advent of .NET and Webservices/Remoting (got that one, too). Finally, the penultimate goal - produce an application. Now that one I'm having trouble with. I spent a good month and a half working through my first object oriented app design and learning how to break my code apart into 6 or 7 different pieces and then make those pieces talk and play nicely across multiple platforms. Now that the rubber meets the road, I'm having difficulty producing a release version of the app. Why? Is it overly difficult? Nope. Are we incorporating technology or methodologies that tax my skills? Nope. Have I been hit with a virus, an ActiveDirectory profile rule and some weird, random video problems as well as an SMS update to my CD burner software? Absolutely. I spent one day recovering from a virus, one day at home with my daughter (no sitters), one day trying to get the SMS'd induced arguments between my video drivers and the video card and my CD burner fixed only to find that somewhere in the mix Visual Studio 2002 (.NET Framework 1.0) had been corrupted. So I stayed late Friday night to finish installing it and I checked it ONE TIME. It ran correctly. I walk back in Monday morning and (A) my computer won't boot while in my docking station and (B) Visual Studio 2002 has again become corrupted. My deadline is Wednesday. I HAVE to get something finished for this project. I'm not sure exactly how to handle this. I'm sure the world will go on if I miss the deadline but this is one of those times that things just run around and around in my head like "Oooh, what if you miss it and get fired?" Or "Wow, won't you feel like such a loser in front of the rest of the team who have let you just play and learn new stuff and now you can't deliver on an easy little crappy program like this. It just hits the database for goodness' sake."

Pressure. So, I stand up; let the pressure drain off me mentally; sit back down and just start working like nothing evil just ran through my mind naked as a jaybird screaming at the top of its lungs, "You're a piece of crap! You can't do this! You never could! Who would trust you!!!???!!!" I just look at those fears running around inside my head and think, "What the hell am I doing looking in my head? People didn't hire me or hang out with me because of these things. They want what I can produce. Not what I'm scared I can't." Then I just start working again.

Here's hoping I get this finished. I know I'll give it a good effort.

Friday, August 15, 2003


OK. I don't want to get off on a rant and I don't have time right now to say much. Lemme just say that trying to work with amateur models is a difficult proposition at best.

I've setup 6 photo shoots and actually made 2 of them. Often I don't get a call until a few hours before (granted once it was a death in the family so that's understandable). This doesn't anger me but it is discouraging to get myself ready for a shoot and then have it postponed or cancelled entirely. The latest episode was when I ran into someone that I thought would make a good model. I asked if she'd ever considered it and she seemed excited and enthusiastic. She even went so far as to allow me to take a few preliminary photos and she signed a model release form. I gave her my contact information and took hers. Sent an e-mail that evening and called back within 48 hours. She still sounded excited and said that she was busy until after the weekend. I gave her an extra couple of days to read the e-mail explaining the difference in my job as a photographer and the job of a model representative as well as the different types of modeling she might want to consider (like casual, elegant, fashion, etc). I explained the difference between fee-based and Time For Prints (TFP) work. She never contacted me but based on her enthusiasm I figured she was just a busy person and knew that she had not only given me her contact info but told me not to call her until after 9:00 when she was off work. I called her a third time and left a message saying that if she was interested to please let me know and if she wasn't that I would appreciate either a phone call or an e-mail response so I would at least know to stop wasting my time and efforts. So does she call . . . nope. But she has her boyfriend call saying she won't be doing any modeling. Now look. It's not a problem if someone doesn't want to model. Heck, I can understand being excited and then changing you mind. What gets me is being excited for a week and then having someone else cancel the appointment.

Well, I still have a few models that have said they want to pose for a sitting for either fee or TFP but we'll see how many of those we're able to get. There's only so many times you can shoot the landscapes and insect macros and the same models before you want to see new faces and new expressions. And as this is just a side job for me, I can't afford to pay for 2 and 3 shoots per week.

Keep your fingers crossed and if you know anyone that would like to pose . . . .

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Photography Stuff

OK. So I'm starting into the world of blogging. My first foray will be centered around photography as its my current obsession. I just got a Canon 10D digital camera. 6.3 megapixel SLR. I have a 35-80mm Canon lens and a 70-300mm Quantaray zoom telephoto lens with macro. Quantaray is Wolf Camera's brand that can be produced by any number of suppliers overseas and then rebranded. Neither of these lenses is a great product so I'm thinking about getting my hands on one of the Canon 50mm prime/fixed focal length lenses. It's still not an "L" series lens but at least it is FAST. It is F/1.8 and only for around $60-70. That's a ton of light; just no zoom.

I've joined the Digital Photography Challenge community ( - my stuff). I'd like to take some stock photo shots but who wouldn't. I'm still developing my artistic eye and style. I just found out today that professional photogs working for National Geographic expect to shoot 10,000-30,000 pics per assignment (each article in NG) over a four week period. That's a ton of frames. Someone else shared with my a comment from Ansel Adams that photographer should expect to take about 25,000 frames a year and expect to like about 1 or 2 of those. That might explain it. He was shooting medium format at around $2/picture. I'm shooting digital so I should probably expect to multiple his estimate by 5-10 times and then maybe I can expect to produce something aesthetically pleasing and commercially viable. With this in mind, my wife has agreed to doing without me for one night a week so that I can travel around for either landscape shots or photo sessions with models. I'm trying to build my portfolio and I've already shot 2,000-3,000 shots with the 10D. You can peruse my photos on PBase.

Thanks again for stopping by,