Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Followup on calendar photograph

The agency that wants to use my photograph is Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/). I downloaded their Photograph Release Form and found that it was lacking what the original e-mail promised. The original e-mail offered accreditation of the work to me. The Photography Release Form used by this agency would afford them the right to alter and/or use the photograph in whole or in part in any way they see fit without any rights by me and they would not be legally obligated to provide credit for the photograph anytime including the original usage. While I'm flattered that someone else wants to use some of my work, I'd have to say that I've worked WAY too hard and spent too much money to just let someone use my work for their benefit without at least acknowledging that I took that photograph. I don't mind giving a little and not charging them for it for a decent cause but what they seem to be looking for is a group of people who just happen to take a good photograph and then don't realize that their time and the finished product (their photograph) is worth something.

If they are interested enough to give me an amended Photograph Release Form I'll be happy to have them use the photograph; if not, well, I was living just fine before they asked to use the photograph and I guess I'll continue along just fine.

I received a reply almost immediately which included an updated release form that guarantees me accreditation of my work whenever used. Very impressive. Yay.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, November 29, 2004

Published photo

I just received a request from a branch of the US Govt to license use of a photo I took for one of their avian health calendars for 2005. Hunh. That's pretty exciting. My project at work is just about ready to be released to Client Test (where the business clients will test it to see if it meets their original specs).

The photo in question is

Copyright 2004 Kevin Riggs

Thanks for reading,


Monday, November 22, 2004

I play with dolls

Okay, truth be told I have played with my two-year old and helped her setup furniture in her doll house. Not the "doll" to which the title refers. Here's my latest attempt at still life photography in my home studio (which doubles as a dining room - how useless is that as opposed to a pretty cool home studio?).

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Still life photos

So I drove down to ATL to pickup some SuperBlack paper (I assume TM). I really went to get a backdrop for a shoot Sunday afternoon but I knew that I also wanted to try with black paper so I splurged.

Got home tonight, saw my daughter, cleaned up a little around the house and then went out on a dinner date with my wife while my Dad & StepMother watched the little girl. When we got back and everyone else settled down to bed I decided that I wanted to test out some of my new "toys" to get a feel for lighting. I slapped one of the big softboxes on a light, put the 42" reflector across from it, setup the white paper (followed by the black) and shot some "still life" photos. What do you think about these?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, November 18, 2004

CNN.com - Getting the Bible back to its roots - Nov 18, 2004

CNN.com - Getting the Bible back to its roots - Nov 18, 2004

I just found this article interesting. Not having seen the translation or being fluent in Hebrew I doubt that I'd be able to adequately evaluate the accuracy of this translation.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I generally don't like getting into things like this because its impossible to change anyone's mind (they have to choose to try a different viewpoint and if that rings true with them then they may actually try to think differently) but I'm tired of hearing groups like American Family Assoc (I believe that's the one) espouse non sequiters that they say they found on spiritual beliefs that I hold as firmly as do they.

Since when did promoting a personal belief system so that it took precedence over other's opinions or desires become not only acceptable but what you have to do if you're conservative. I dare you to find someone more conservative about Biblical interpretation and application than am I. I believe the Bible to be the holy, ispired, infallible word (in its original autographs) of a holy, divine, omnipotent, omniscient, self-extant being and I believe that said being has revealed himself to humans through personal interaction and that book and that any personal experience that contradicts that book must, de facto, be errant and possibly perpetrated by demons. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it. Find someone who believes more strongly in the immutable message of the sinful nature of each example of mankind (e.g. you, me, your mom, your uncle, that guy over there, etc) and the necessity and free gift of a holy and divine sacrifice and I'll eat your hat (that is a metaphor for those who fail to read the Bible and understand that it can be holy, inspired, literal in its didactic teachings and yet still contain both metaphors or historical narratives that include metaphors - just wanted you morons to not fall behind).

Now given that as my personal opinion and the grounds upon which I test conviction in my own life I find it disingenuous that people are offended when I say fuck or not or upset because Saving Private Ryan comes on a "regular" pay channel. Folks, just because a divine being granted each person the capacity to choose to be offensive or compliant with that beings will and you happen to be at a place in your life where you want to "do all things as unto the Lord" doesn't mean that the rest of the 6+ billion people on planet Earth are at the same place. I'm not suggesting that if I screw up and blow out a curseword at Shoneys you don't remind me that I'm in a public place. I'm not suggesting that you don't say, 'Hey, I don't happen to like egregious violence, language or sex." I'm saying that its totaly OK for you to not like it and even to voice your opinion but get a clue -- your opinion is just that. Yours and an Opinion. 6+ billion other people have theirs and some lady in China doesn't even understand why you might find something offensive. It's not that its "right" or "wrong". Its that you live in a litigious society that happens to be turning to where its more publically acceptable to put social pressure on someone to conform to your belief system even if they don't happen to agree with it. Grow up. Turn the TV. Heck, turn it off for that matter. Some things happen from time-to-time in life that are bad and during those times of stress (like World War II) some young guys around the ages of 20-25 might have cursed or screamed out in anger at God while their buddy's guts lay glistening in the sunlight. You or I probably don't even have enough idea what that's like to form an opinion. Remember that a documentary is designed with the purpose of presenting a view of some historical event, period, occurrence or person and you ought to be open minded enough to take the good with the bad. If you don't want to see it or even have it on in your home then I'll stand right behind you and even take up a gun to defend your right to not have to see it. I'm all for you to choose your own path. I'll expect that if I want to see it as an historical reminder of a time that is painful and levied on the people who lived through it a weight that I believe they would all have gladly passed to some other generation, then I expect as American's you will support my right to see such an historically accurate (according to people who lived through those events) depiction. I expect that as grown ups you won't go running to the hall monitor and decry that someone has exercised his (A) God granted right to do something that you would not personally choose to do and (B) a right recognized and provided for by the Constitution. Sure, it was on one of the "lower channels" and seeing Saving Private Ryan on one of the major networks may not be explicitly granted as a right in the Constitution but removing the opportunity to see a work that has historical merit from people who can afford or can only get those channels is outrageous and an egregious exercise in your personal belief system and how you may try to strongarm others into doing things to which you choose to subscribe.

In closing I'll ask this. When I was studying Bible at Wm. Jennings Bryan College and I was going door-to-door asking if the person who answered the door believed that it was possible to know with any certainty what would happen to them after they died, where were you? Were you taking drugs? Were you having illicit sex? Were you lying under oath? What little peccadillos were you indulging in? See everyone has times where they are closer to realizing holiness and righteousness in their own lives. Don't confuse social and political fervor for George W Bush or your church with true zeal for holiness or righteousness. You owe yourself and God more honesty than that. Have you convictions. Share them; just don't shove them down anyone else's throat. God didn't do it to you and you have no mandate from Him to do that to anyone else.

Caveat for those who have read this far

Consider Judges 21:25
"In those days there was no king in Isreal; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (NASB)

I don't suggest that you should water down your own convictions or that anyone should do "what they feel." That verse is, in my opinion, a condemnation of the Israelites and one of the examples that God gives of just how depraved human nature is; it is just one of the examples in the Bible of why we need more structure from a being who is holy in his essence rather than from other flawed humans. I do suggest that you accept that your job in this life is to be the best steward of the time given you and to "bear witness." You are not commanded to win souls, you are commanded to assume a present position of "going" and in so doing, make disciples (look it up in the Greek).


PTSS - at work???

Couple o' things ~

At work today we had a round of job eliminations. Not firings or layoffs but eliminations of the need for a person to do something. Ahhh . . . call it what you will. My interest at this point is in the social and individual effects of such an activity. The corporation where I work just did this same thing less than six months ago. They had previously done it almost 18 months ago as well. Now, that doesn't make this corporation bad or the managers or officers evil. My own reaction and the reactions of others with whom I converse does lead me to this consideration: to what degree might an observer expect to be able to draw parallels between employees and even managers who have to "let go" employees who's jobs have been eliminated and people in a situation of constant attrition. Now I don't mean to liken in any appreciable way working for a Fortune 250 company and being on the front lines of battle. One is stressful but not horrific; the other is a trip into the macabre that no matter whether you win or lose you will lose some of yourself in the process. The lingering effects on the psyche of participants in either arena is where I'm wondering if there is any parallel (not equivilency; just similarity). After a person has worked at a corporation for 4 years and seen 3 "lay-offs" doesn't he begin to develop a cynical attitude of detachment about the management? Isn't there a self-preservation tendancy that makes him/her consider twice before opening up to co-workers; the very people against whom he will contend for the precious corporate dollar that can only go to fund one family while the loser heads off to generate resumes in manic-depressive fits until he begins to find some semblance of normality in another job.
Having asked that question I want to point out that I do understand that these two situations are incredibly, vastly different. See in a corporate setting the individuals do actually have some control over the downward plummet. If they band together and focus their energies they can generate good situations, trust with clients and other business entities and find a way out of the hellacious pressure cooker. I don't for a second think that a Harvey Mackay (did I get that right) or a "7 Steps" book is going to truly change the environment in which a soldier finds himself. I just happen to find some of the flinching and stress that I seem to read about going along with PTSS (feelings of relief followed by feelings of guilt and questions about ones "value" to the group and why one didn't lose a job when another did).

Anyway, enough maudlin stuff. I've tried to approach a side business from the standpoint that its a marathon and not a sprint. I have felt financial pressure throughout the last 18 months as I added supplies to my little business venture. I selected only high or highest quality goods as I'm a firm believer in buying high quality goods and paying for them once instead of buying cheaper goods and paying for them several times while also hindering yourself from doing that which would earn money. I'm sure just like it'll be difficult to tell just when you broke even on the thousands of dollars invested in a private business, its difficult to state that I've "made it" to the professional level. I don't garner a majority of my income from photography and don't expect to anytime soon but I did make a nice enough little sum of money that I'm looking forward to photographing the attendees at another ball. It was fun and the money was good for the amount of time I spent. I have finally started adding proofs to my online sales site (kevinriggs.myexposure.com). I just got word tonight that some people may want me to photography a private party this weekend. I'm pretty stoked. If I can pickup some odd jobs around the area I could actually start making enough money to payoff some of the equipment I have invested in. That's a cool idea.

Well, its getting pretty late and I have typed WAAAAAYYYYY more than I intended but I don't feel like going back to revise it.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Back up to speed

This weekend has turned out pretty good. I'm about 90% back up to my normal operating speed and Saturday I photographed the Marine Corps Ball. It is an annual event to celebrate the birthday of the Marine Corps. I was honored to be able to not only take photos of the couples, friends and leaders of this group but also to capture some of the birthday celebration ceremony. It was a proud and powerful message sent from the Commandant of the Corps and the First Sergeant. They recognized the service, tradition and esprit de corps that is the heritage of Marines for the last 229 years. They showed footage of Marines aqcuiting their duties in armed combat as well as in evaluation and planning or support jobs. The group at this ball was about half as large as normal because so many of the young men and women are currently deployed overseas in the war on terror. I'm not nearly as "hawkish" as I was earlier in life and I definitely am not a fan of many of President Bush's international policies but being able to see the proud families for whom national service is a way of life reminded me that politics is one thing and duty is something totally separate. I'm humbled and awed by the sacrifice that these families accept as daily life. These men and women who serve and their families have my respect and thanks; not grudgingly but sincerely. I hope that each is quickly reunited with his or her families as soon as possible.

On a much less grand note I updated my website to reflect my direction towards a small business mentality. You can see it at http://www.kevinriggs.com/

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Yes, its 3:00 AM and I'm posting

It's 3:00 on Saturday Nov 13th and I'm posting.

My sleep schedule has been all outta whack from this weirdo illness. It came on like it was a sinus infection which I seem to get every fall and sometimes in the spring. Nasal drainage and minor pressure behind the eyes. Next thing I know my vision is getting buggy and I'm starting to have some major headaches. I ended up missing two and a half days from work this week because of this junk. Odd thing is that my wife & daughter both had some of the symptoms and complained but neither seemed to have the debilitating headache/migraine reaction that had me sleeping only to wake up and take more medicine. Finally after trying to work through it and just taking Friday off I slept much of the day and when my wife awakened me at 5:30 I had no headache. Ya know how when you're well its difficult to conjure up the whole "sick" context of just blah that happens when you're sick? Well its like Dorothy awaking from the dream and being able to think back on those memories. I remember having a fever and even going in to work on day. I remember trying to get my project finished by Friday and how crappy I felt. Come 5:30 when I woke up, no more headache. The sinus drainage had already stopped mostly by Friday morning. I got up tonight after not having a shower in . . . awhile. I even setup the new equipment that I got but was just too darned sick to even put together. Here's a shot with some of the eqiupment and my sick family members sitting for it. Funny, all we could muster was about 30 minutes before we were all too worn out to go on. Now I'm awake to get a drink of water and grab another aspirin (force of habit I guess).

If you were prayin' for me then apparently it worked. I'm still here and I'm getting back to full strength.

Here's the photo:

(click the picture to see all the shots)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Off with toys but no photos

Lemme give you an idea just how I feel. I'm off today and I got a new light, new backdrop stands, a 9' wide roll of SavageWhite (from Savage) seamless backdrop paper and my new Gretag-Macbeth 24 swatch color management piece. I'm not taking any photos today because I can't sit up for more than about 10 minutes without needing to toss my cookies. This sucks. My project deadline is rapidly approaching at work and if I hadn't been working ahead of schedule I'd be sweating bullets now to go along with the fevered sweat that I've had since about midnight last night.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

Extending the arsenal

Ordered a backdrop stand, roll of SuperWhite paper, another light and some accessories for the upcoming ball that I'll be shooting at. Now I'll have the ability to shoot an indoor session that is pretty much the equal of what I shot at the studio in Atlanta. I will post a pic after next weekend to show the setup that we use and maybe one to show the results of a shot. I'm pretty stoked.

Shot family portraits for a co-worker this weekend. It was awesome. I got around 600-700 frames in about an hour and a half (most were his young daughters). Should have enough to choose from. I've edited two just to test certain formats (layers, coloring, special filter effects). I'm pretty happy with the results.

Oh yeah, I cleaned about 20Gb of photos off the computer this weekend. I burned 'em to DVD and now I'm cataloging the images off the DVD into my Extensis software. That software ROCKS! I love being able to search for images based on several automatically profiled settings as well as being able to create sections in the catalog or assigning key words to multiple images. I'm well over 50,000 images now and believe it or not, this software makes it pretty simple to go find a photo. It does take a few minutes to burn the images to DVD, catalog the DVD and then assign info to the photos but its worth it so far.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cool part of a democratic republic

Sure, there's graft, corruption, greed, misappropriation. Commercialism allows for some of the worse traits in human interaction just as it also makes room for some of the better tendancies. Today is Nov 2nd, 2004. Its the day we get to vote on local leaders as well as national leaders. The cool thing about living in a democratic republic is that I didn't have to worry that anyone would shoot me for voicing my opposition or support for the current establishment. No one tried to coerce my vote or elicit negative comments about any political position or official. If anyone did want to get a "soundbite" out of me about the election and the leadership of our local or national government, all he/she would have to do is ask me. I'm free to make my opinion known or keep it to myself.

Another thing I like about this is that the voting is such an anti-climatic step. Its been months in the arrival but as I stood in line I realized that my power was going to be exercised when I colored in the appropriate bubbles on the form and then submitted it to the counting machine. I didn't have to hit my opponent over the head with a cudgel. I simply marked my choices, submitted my vote to an impartial tallying machine and calmly walked away.

This philosophy of government pales by comparison with what's to come (a Biblical regency/theocracy if my interpretation of the Bible is accurate) but at least this form of govt has been stable and functional through many troubling times and even in prosperity.

P.S. - I'm looking forward to being a retired man and working at the polling station in the future. I just think that would be a VERY cool thing to do after I retire.

Go us!

Thanks for reading,