If I’d only been a bus driver …

I’d be retired and have lots of time for projects. As it is, I have a backlog of about ten years worth of projects. There’s furniture to rebuild, a kitchen to redo, and a whole house to build on the beach in Canada. And photographs galore that need finishing and then all the ones floating around in my brain that still have to be shot.

Work keeps interfering with the fun stuff. Why didn’t I become a bus driver? Who knew that the politicians were going to be so out of control that public employees would make more money after retirement than before and public pension costs would soar out of sight. Instead I’ve been working (ok, not that hard a lot of the time) for forty years and retirement still seems a ways away.

Currently, I’m trying to rebuild and refinish a century old desk. Someone in its past did some misguided work on it and now multiple parts, including the top, are warped beyond salvaging. It is a roll top desk with a working, interlocking tambour (not the fake slats of wood glued on a piece of canvas stuff) so I had to buy it.

Last week, I made a new top for the desk out of quarter sawn, white oak, and it is gorgeous. Also it is flat which is an important feature for a desk top. There will be pictures when the whole desk is done, along with the Yucca Valley chair, and of course, a nude model.

On the other hand, bus drivers don’t get to see what I see every day, so maybe it wouldn’t have been a good idea.

I’m also working on finishing the Legs images. There’s a new one above and about 20 in the queue for finishing. One nice thing about this blog, the images don’t have to be complete before posting. There’s so much difference in resolution required for these tiny web images than for a real print.

Trying to bring order to the studio

My office is cluttered with stacks and stacks of prints, mats, boxes, equipment, and (oh yes) postcards. Also lots of junk. But the good kind of junk, you know, the stuff that you can’t bear to throw away.

I’ve spent the couple weeks since getting home from Yucca Valley trying to impose some sort of order. I’ve been sorting and matting prints and making up portfolio boxes for each of the major series. I’m getting ready for the rush of customers who after reading this blog are overwhelmed by the need to buy a print. When they come calling, I’ll be ready.

In truth, I’m trying to get a handle on the situation so I can safely sort through the rest and throw it away. It will be interesting to be able to see the desk top again after a few years. I don’t think I’ve seen it since I got ready for Photo LA in a big rush and left other stuff scattered around.

At this point, I have 8 boxes of 10 prints each. 4 more series to go. Then I’ll be able to safely sort through the rest of the stuff and throw most of it out.

After the office is clean, I plan to clean up my computer and the terabytes of external storage that is full of images. I don’t think there’s a chance of cleaning up my cluttered mind.

Along the way, I’ve made a few new prints when I come across an image that strikes my fancy, and I say, why wasn’t that printed in the first place. Here’s a new Dune image. It wouldn’t pass the postcard-eligible test. I like it.

My Camera in the National Parks

I told a friend last week that I was planning a book named “My Camera in the National Parks” and he said, whoa, that name is already taken. Yeah, but that was more than 50 years ago and besides my book is going to be different, the photos are going to be in color. Otherwise, just scenes of the wonders of nature.

I’m planning a circular tour of central California to catch a bunch of different scenes. Sequoia for the giant trees, Mojave for the wide open barren desert, Death Valley for the dunes and racetracks, Mono Lake, the Alabama Hills, and back through Yosemite to home. I’d also like to go down to Amboy or up to Shasta to catch a cinder cone, but that may be too far on this trip.

Not sure what I’m going to do in Yosemite. Unlike when Ansel Adams photographed it more than 50 years ago, that park has been so over photographed, that I wonder if there is anything new to do. (I don’t think there are any nudes inside, so you just get to see the cover.)

Of course, I’ll have a nude model with me at Yosemite, so there’s that. Maybe we’ll find an out of the way, unrecognized part of the park. Or I wonder if I can get the woman who climbed Half Dome nude to do it again and pose for photos?

You saw my scene of Joshua Tree National Park several months ago. Here’s a scene on the dunes at Oceano.

Okay, for all you sticklers, that’s not a national park, officially it’s the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. It’s like a dog park, but for off road vehicles. If you have one you can let it loose there to play with the other vehicles. And they play like dogs, running into and falling all over each other. Carnage multiple times a day. Sort of like NASCAR.

Postcards, postcards, and more postcards

I’ve got a lot of postcards:

Not sure what I’m going to do with all of these postcards. They’re pretty good quality, but, wow, there are a lot of them.

I wanted to have a variety so I ordered 100 of 12 different designs. I received 250 of each. Now I understand the postcard pricing policy. Ordering 250 postcards doesn’t cost much more than ordering 100, because you get 250 in either case. I wonder if that is always true.

Maybe they print these on large sheets and if anyone ordered 250 they have to run the press for that long. And then they just cut them and give them to you no matter how many you ordered. Or maybe it’s too hard to keep track of how many were ordered so they just always make 250 for everyone. I kind of like this last idea. It’s too hard to keep track of what was ordered, so always do the same thing.

In any case, I now have 3000 postcards. I’ve given away about 20, so only 2980 postcards to go.

I’m going to the SF Art Book Fair, and the Anarchist Book Fair in Oakland, and the SF Zine Fest this year to sell books and postcards. Last year, some people thought my business cards were bookmarks and wanted to buy them. This year they can buy postcards. $2 each, all 12 for $20.

109 comments

One of my blog posts from last October received 109 comments last week. Sounds exciting, right? Well actually not. They were all spam. Do the spammers really think that people click on suspicious links embedded in comments on blogs. Really?

Surprisingly the comments weren’t all for porn sites. The vast majority were for payday loans. In a distant second place were car insurance offers. Followed by porn in third place. Maybe that’s because you don’t have to go somewhere else for “hot nude girls”. Here’s one now:

I’m back from the desert. Sorry I neglected my faithful readers for so long.

Printing postcards

In my long running quest to sell more art I’ve decided to make postcards. If zines at $20 sell better than prints at $400, maybe $2 postcards will be the big winner. A couple of thousand postcards and we’re talking real money. More likely, I’ll end up with a couple thousand postcards in the basement.

It’s real easy to get 50, 100, 200, or 500 postcards printed. Pricing is such that 100 don’t cost much more than 50, 200 not much more than 100, and 500 not much more than 200. The price falls exponentially. There isn’t an option to print 1000 cards, probably because they would be free at that point.

But how many postcards do I really need? Factor in that I didn’t want them all the same. 500 cards each of 10 different prints would be enough postcards to last a millennium. So I settled for 100 each. We’ll see how this goes. I’m going to the zine fest again this year, so I’ll have lots of merchandise in case there is a run on nude art.

The first sample cards looked and felt pretty good but the shadows were too light. Turns out the general Internet wisdom on the right profile to use to convert to CMYK for digital offset printing is completely wrong. If you use the Photoshop default of “US Web Coated (SWOP) v2”, the printer won’t have any problem with your files, but the results will also be washed out.

For the second batch, I tried “Coated GRACol 2006” after reading a couple of graphic arts articles. The total ink load is increased from 300% to 339%. That should be a lot blacker. The printer has not complained about the ink load. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

But they complained immediately about the subject matter. The Oakland office said they wouldn’t print my job because they don’t print genitals. Whoa, hold on a minute. While I don’t shy away from genitals in my work, I can read, and having read their policy, nothing I sent them contained any genitals. A couple of the images got very, very close, but none of the important parts were showing, except a couple of nipples and they don’t have a policy against nipples. Unlike those big Internet companies.

So I called their customer service number and ended up having an interesting and pleasant conversation about genitals with Melissa in their Kansas City office. Turns out the Midwest office knows more about the subject than the Oakland office. Melissa approved all of my images and was planning on calling the Oakland people to tell them the definition of genitals. Wish I could have heard that conversation.

Here are a couple of the suspect images.

The second one isn’t even close. Unless you can find someone whose genitals are down around the knees.

White on White

For White on White, I got rid of the blacks too. As the name implies, the tones in these images are all white. The blacks are gone as well as most of the grays. The content is familiar.

These images remind me of a ski hill. Down the steep chute, over the bump, and into the wide open bowl.

Line

I’m sometimes known as a photographer that works in black and white, just black and white, none of those pesky grays in the middle. Inky black shadows and brilliant white highlights.

It’s an exaggerated palette that I like for abstract images, but some find unrealistic and annoying on more realistic images. I do try to tone it down occasionally; not very successfully.

Line is an example. The skin is rendered almost pure white except for a few inky shadows demarcating the different parts. There’s nothing but skin in these images.

The subject matter is familiar–breasts, butts, and pubic mounds. My favorite, curvy parts.

I think there are a lot more of these images. I wonder why they aren’t posted on my web site. I’ll look around and see if I can find and post some more. Then I’ll let you know.

Stuck in Yucca Valley

Yucca Valley, California. Not a three star destination. Probably not even one star. There’s not much to the town except for strip malls on either side of the highway for several miles. I’m stuck here again this year for a couple of months and trying to make the best of it.

I think they have every known fast food restaurant and a few that no one has ever heard of too. And a Home Dept and a Walmart. Nirvana! Just kidding.

Actually there are three good restaurants in town, if you take a fairly liberal definition of in town. Hey, it’s the desert, driving 10 miles on a dirt road to get to a restaurant is no big deal. La Copine, north of town a few miles in Flamingo Heights, serves modern, interesting food. Joshua Tree Saloon in Joshua Tree is pretty much what you’d expect with that name–burgers, fries, onion rings, and beer, lots of beer. And the Hookah Lounge, a classic middle eastern felalel and gyro place, is one of the three best restaurants in town.

There are also about a million thrift shops. Well, maybe really only a dozen. Last year I bought a great old oak, arm chair for only $9.95. Dale thought it was absurd, but I brought it home packed in the car. Had to throw away some other stuff to make it fit. But the chair is great; it’s reglued, refinished and living in the living room. Maybe I can arrange a photo of it some time. This year I bought an oak, extendable coffee table. Not really sure that I want a coffee table, but the grain on the top was well worth the price.

The one redeeming feature of Yucca Valley are the rocks. big, rounded boulders that would be at home on a Flintstones set. These are the same rock formations that are the main attraction in Joshua Tree National Park which is right next door. Which brings me to today’s photo, a shot of the characteristic and beautiful Joshua Tree National Park scenery. With a nude woman of course. Since everything is better with a little nudity.

Part of my upcoming series on the National Parks.