Tuesday, February 19, 2008


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I have been reading some of Mark Hobson’s posts at The Landscapist, and he has posted some very useful information for making a photo book. His choice among the POD printers is Shutterfly. Ding! I had completely put out of my mind the fact that a little over a year ago I ordered a book from Shutterfly. It wasn’t wonderful, but that was pretty much all my fault. I have learned a great deal since then—that seems like a long time ago. Besides, on that occasion, I simply used their templates, and I wouldn’t do that again. Still, I have some experience with that setup, and this would save me the angst of searching for the right printer and familiarizing myself with another printer’s format. I also found very appealing Mark’s suggestion to simply do the layout in Adobe Photoshop, forget learning another program, and feel free to keep the text to a minimum. Hooray! I’m in favor of all that. Perhaps, my favorite part of Mark's posts were his advice to keep it simple. All too frequently, I forget that old wisdom, KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The idea of getting 35 shots I can bear to have printed in a book is still intimidating. Plus, I will have to lay the book out page by page in Photoshop—I stopped with Adobe Pagemaker (that was way back) and never made my peace with InDesign. I can save that challenge for next year. Nevertheless, I feel encouraged. Now, if the theme I have in mind just holds up to scrutiny and we ever sell our house—and we ever move, and I ever have time to pick a camera again!

Monday, February 18, 2008

That Blasted Hourglass

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Some people (Let’s face it women, mostly. Because, over all, we do more housework than men do. ) talk about housework being conducive to a meditative state. After all, you don’t burn a lot of brain cells dusting and scrubbing. The greatest percentage of your mind is free to wander.

Lately, I have been doing A Lot of housework and my mind is wandering in ways that are not necessarily productive. Now, some of the woolgathering is devoted to soul-stirring images of life in Bear Valley. Pictures of sunsets replete with breathtaking clouds swimming in shimmering golds, hawks swooping down in the meadow grass just beyond our back door, deer wandering across our pasture land and stopping to graze, our horses gamboling in the field with the Tehachapi’s as a backdrop—pretty sweet stuff. On the other hand, some stuff creeps into my head that is not so comforting. Lately, one image that returns all too frequently is that of the blasted hourglass of time. (Natuarlly, this is partially connected to The Book. SoFoBoMo, that is.) But, here’s what’s troubling. That sand in my hourglass isn’t passing through to the bottom slowly and smoothly, as it should. The darned thing is functioning more like a funnel—and I’m talking about a biiiig funnel—one you would use for flour, or rocks, for crying out loud.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

SoFoBoMo Dreams—or Nightmares

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Hard as I try to stay focused on cleaning the house (our realtor comes Tuesday morning and she is a tough grader), my mind keeps drifting to thoughts of photo books. Of course, I pretty much need a theme I can shoot in our new home in Bear Valley. By April 1, the date the SoFoBoMo season opens, we expect to be moving, or at least spending a great deal of time at our new place. Choosing a theme that tied me to my current area would be awkward, to say the least. I have tried to come up with a theme that capitalizes on the current chaos in my life, but so far, nada. More than once, I have “settled” on a theme, then picked at it a couple of days, and discovered it doesn’t hold up for me.

Yesterday, as I cleaned and listened to rock music from of the “British Invasion” on FM, my mind wandered as usual to the photobook, and I hit on another idea. (Must have been The Stones or maybe it was The Animals. Hmm. One of those themes might work in Bear Valley. No, not really.) Now, let’s see if this idea lasts more than two or three days. I’ll give it a few days before saying it out loud. In the meantime, I have been spending every second I can excuse from work reading the blogs of other participants. Everyone is incredibly generous with information and research. I am rapidly learning that the best part of this entire project is being a tiny, tiny piece of this great group-adventure. While I am nearly paralyzed with fear about this thing, I know I am going to learn so much that it will be worth the scare.
Several bloggers are posting useful information about the SoFoBoMo challenge. I have already mentioned Paul Butzi (The Instigator) and Doug Stockdale, who generously shares his thoughts about his own journey. In the last couple of days, Colin Jago has posted a list of all the participants with links and John Seltzer has created a new blog dedicated to SoFoBoMo, complete with a blogroll including all who have accepted the challenge. A great big "thank you" to all the guys who contribute so much. Of course, now any hopes I may have harbored about slinking along the edges of this, blessedly unnoticed, have gone up in smoke. John's new site is titled, "Tell The World". Now, it's official. If I make a fool of myself, the whole world will know.