Sunday, December 30, 2007

Two Towers

We had fun over Christmas playing with Ryker and Eric's blocks. Here is a video.

Ryker is a block demolition expert.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The pace of life at the studio has slowed way down. All the the orders that are to be delivered back to the schools have gone back. Phone calls have died way down, because even most of the late and retake orders have gone back. The photo editor printed so many photos over the weekend, we barely had time to cut them all, and we didn't get finished putting them into folders. We'll do that in the morning.

There is still lots of stuff for us to do, we're just not feeling the pressure to get it done right now. We're working quickly with the hopes of getting the stuff that has to be mailed out and even the stuff that doesn't ready in time to go under the Christmas trees here in town.

It's nice that the phone isn't ringing nearly as much.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Google Money

Saturday, I went over to my parent's house to pick up some N64 paddles to play Mario Kart and as I was going in, I checked the mail. There was only one letter and it was for me. That's odd I thought, I don't know any one in Buffalo.

I opened it up and found a check for $100.63 from google. Talk about a pleasant surprise. I find myself wishing that it would happen a little more often. Good thing the exchange rate is back down a little, because that would have been like $90 in real money a month ago.


Saturday, November 24, 2007


I've been looking through the archives of my blog. My life over the last five years has been pretty well documented. Although I don't think google is going anywhere soon, and therefore neither is blogger, I've been wanting to copy all of my posts into a text file to back it up somewhere.

Five years is a long time. One sixth of my life, documented, several times a month. It is funny that when I read some of my old posts I can remember exactly what I was thinking at the time. Some I think exactly, "What was I thinking?" and others seem all together unfamiliar to me.

If there are any of you that have been following my blog over the last few years, or even only months, since July 07 at the very least, you will know that my life is at somewhat of a crossroads.

I've been counting down the days to a no fault divorce. I realize that there are some pretty big questions that I need to deal with. Some might be easier than others. Some have been decided already.

One question is: What do I do with the last 9 years worth of photos? I'm not talking about a shoe box here. There are literally thousands of photos documenting my life with Tracie. The last I knew Tracie has copies on her laptop, lots of them are on flickr and many are backed up on DVDs as well as my parent's computers. I plan on keeping them, the DVDs and the copies I have on my own laptop and flickr. I'll probably take more effective steps to back them up as well. So really I've decided what to do with those. Put them (the dvds) in a box. Retire the laptop when I get a new computer and only boot it up when I want to wallow in self-pity.

The second question is: What about this blog? I mean there are lots of posts discussing how much I love Tracie, how Tracie is the best thing that ever happened to me, and Tracie this that and the other thing. Which is fine, except for the fact that, I plan for my life to go on. I plan on finding someone new. Apparently I've finished with my starter wife and am now moving on to Wife 2.0. Do I ask her not to read the blog? Do I say read it at our own peril? Do I say, "This is my past, read it if you want, and realize that I've move on from most of those things."? Do I not say anything at all and hope that the new woman doesn't type, "Gary Milner Internet Superstar" into google?

The third question: Should I try to do something about this train wreck I call a marriage? Sometimes I think that I should buy a plane ticket and fly back to Australia to try and change Tracie's heart. Realistically I know that this would be crazy. Crazy enough that you could make a movie about a crazy person who would do that. In the nooks and crannies of my heart, I want Tracie back. My head argues that I can't, that I shouldn't, that I don't really, want to have her back. I won't be able to achieve my life's goals with her by my side. My heart is breaking because I truly love her, and need to find someone else to be complete. To be the type of person I want to be.

My heart fires back to my brain, "If you have to convince yourself that you shouldn't be married to her, maybe you should. A divorce is something serious enough that you shouldn't have to convince yourself. It should be obvious."

Those are just three of the questions that I'm working my way through right now. I'll just have to see what I think in five more years. Will the answers be obvious to me then? Will the heartbreak be over?

A funny thing. I saw a link to a webpage with various word-illusions. The girl in the Love-Hate Shirt was one of them. I posted the photo on flickr in April 06 and was reminded of it today. I wrote the paragraphs in block quotes before I even started on any of the personal stuff.

I'm reposting this, I think, because the last time I posted about it, I didn't mention that this effect is called an "ambigram".

There is at least one ambigram generator on the internet, but it makes rotational ambigrams rather than mirrored ambigrams. The difference being that the second word is visible when you view it upside down rather than in a mirror.

I would really like to have a shirt like this. I think that I will put it on the to-do list in my head. I guess that means that it could be years before I actually make or acquire one.

Now I'm not so sure why I wanted to repost this photo. Maybe I've been in love with the girl in the mirror this whole time while I've in fact been married to the real girl this whole time.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Winning Team Wins You Pizza

So I went to a Tigers hockey game three weeks ago, and I noticed that on the back of the ticket there was a coupon for a free personal pan pizza if the home team wins by 3 or more points.

Well, they won by three points. Now, it seems to me that the most obvious thing to do in a situation like this is to try and find more ticket stubs that people threw on the ground to obtain more than one free pizza. Nine free pizzas to be exact.

I told the girls where I work that I walked around the arena looking for ticket stubs. They all seem to think that this should not be done. It is just completely unreasonable to pick ticket stubs off the floor for a free pizza. I say there's not a lot I wouldn't do for $63 worth of pizza. I don't know if they are influencing each other in their responses but I would totally do it again.

In fact, although I am not a big hockey fan I have started listening to the tigers play on the radio so that in cases where they win by 3 or more points on a Friday or Saturday I can drive down to the arena and get more tickets. Because, you know, they only check for tickets at the start of the game, not at the end.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Pushing Daisies

So, I have a new favourite show. It's called Pushing Daisies. 30 Rock is still the funniest show on TV, but Pushing Daisies is the best.

Ned, the show's hero has the power to bring dead things back to life by touching them. When he touches them again they revert back to being dead, permanently. If they stay alive for more than a minute, someone in the vicinity must die to take the revived person's place.

A private detective discovers Ned's ability and convinces him to solve murders for the reward money by going to the morgue and asking the recently deceased who murdered them.

This is the most original show that I have seen in a long time. It has the look and feel of a Tim Burton movie. Picking a genre for this show is difficult. The imdb calls it comedy/drama/fantasy/mystery/romance, and they are absolutely correct. I've watched the first two episodes so far and will probably watch two more tonight. Six have aired so far and nine have been produced.

The writers strike that started last week must end soon. Greedy executives please give the writers what they want. They deserve it. It doesn't make sense that when 15 year old kids post shows on Youtube it's worth a billion dollars, but when the networks stream the shows themselves, they aren't.

I really hope that Pushing Daisies gets the chance it deserves.

-Gary Milner

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Heros

A thing we have to remember about tv shows.

It is much harder to get a new series going that get a hit series renewed. I think what may have happened with Heros (Lost and Prison Break can be included in this) is that the creators had to work really hard to get the series made in the first place. The story had to be perfect and the show actually had to be good.

Maybe the writers spent all their energy and ideas on the first season not even knowing if it would get made. Then suddenly they're a hit and get picked up for 20 more episodes the next year and can't think of anything good for the show.

I absolutely loved Prison Break season one but I couldn't even stomach season two. Lost seems like a show I would really like and I was going to rent season one and two on dvd to get caught up, but then I realized, what's the point. They don't get off the island. No matter how compelling the show is at the end of the season, they're still there. Stuck. Just like Gilligan.

-Gary Milner

Monday, November 05, 2007

Heros Continutiy Problems

I'm becoming disenchanted with the tv show Heros. There are several problems with the show.

First, for example, a couple of weeks ago, they had a character in the Ukraine talking to a character in California and it was the middle of the day in both places. It's a nitpick, but, they film indoors couldn't they turn the lights off?

Second, is that they are adding new characters with stupid powers.

Third, it is impossible to know who to hope for. It isn't clear enough who the good guys are and even if you just pick someone to be the good guys, they switch back and forth between being good and bad all the time. I just don't like it.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Google Adsense

On July 26, 2005, I entered the world of selling advertising space online. Well, to be more specific I set some space aside on this blog for Google to act as my agent and sell advertisements that theoretically relate to what I write on my blog. Today, October 31, 2007, I have finally made enough to request my first cheque.

It has taken me basically 27 months and almost 64,000 page views to reach this point. Interestingly enough, the three Octobers that occurred over that 27 month time span represent about half of my advertising income.

I think that I will achieve another cheque in less than 27 months simply because my blog just keeps growing and growing. I'll continue to post things that I think will interest people in October, my blog's busy month as well as normal run of the mill things.

This isn't the best way to go about making money by blogging, but an extra cheque from Google every now and then isn't exactly a kick in the shins. I'm really excited for it even though I'm making approximately the same amount of money on istock every two weeks as I just made through Google over the last 27 months.

-Gary Milner

Friday, October 26, 2007

One More Thing About TV

If you can download a 30 minute show in 1 hour and it takes people 15 minutes to put the show on the internet after it first airs. You can actually download your favorite shows, (30 Rock and The Office) from the people in New York and be watching them (the shows, not the people) 15 minutes before it airs here in Alberta or an hour and 15 if you live on the west coast.


Thursday, October 25, 2007


You know what would be awesome? If you could type, "Television Listings for Medicine Hat" into and get a link to for Medicine Hat.

Like some sort of guide to tv. It could have the channels and times listed along with the shows and possibly plot summaries for the shows. It would be like an internet version of TV Guide the magazine.

Seriously how hard could it be? Plenty of people have access to television listings in a computer based format. They wouldn't even have to retype them. They could just copy and past them.

A person should be able to search by time, channel and name of show. Searching for, "30 Rock" should give you a list of times and channels corresponding to when, "30 Rock" playing. Searching for 9:00pm Thursday should give you a list of everything playing on Thursday at 9:00pm as well as the next 2 hours after that.

There should also be links to teasers in an attempt to get you to actually watch those shows. No wonder people download TV. What's the point of watching TV at a set time when A. you can't even find out the time the show you want to watch is on, and B. You can just watch it on your computer without the commercials anyway.

Conversation with a 7th Grader

Me, "Do you want your hoodie in the picture?"
Girl, "No."
Me, "Then take it off."
Girl, "No."
Me, "Do you want your hoodie in the picture?"
Girl, "No."
Me, "Then take it off."
Girl, "No."
Me, "I don't understand. You don't want your hoodie in the picture, but you won't take it off?"
Girl, Sits in Fog
Me, "If you don't want the hoodie in the picture, you have to take it off. If you don't take your hoodie off, it will be in the picture. Are you going to take it off or not?"
Girl, "I want it on."
Me, "Fine."


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This is a repeat from last year. I like it enough that I think it warrants another posting. I think that it is one of the better templates I have made. At least it looks the most like what I want it to be like.

I figured he's a pretty scary guy, so why not make him into a jack 'o lantern.

Included in this Halloween related post are links to two pictures. One with a black background and one with a white background. The white background picture is for printing and using as the template and the blackbackground is to help you visulize what it will look like.

If you use this one, cut the black part out of the pumpkin. Use the tips and how to's from my other Halloween posts to help you.


In other more job related news, we will be done taking photos towards the end of the month. Right now we are about a week behind printing the orders, but we will be catching up very quickly because we had a week off at the start of October.

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to Make a Pumpkin Carving Stencil or Template

I just found a really good tutorial on how to make a pumpkin carving template or stencil.
It comes in the form of a 20 minute video that seems pretty easy to follow. He even shows how to simulate what the final carved pumpkin will look like. I really recommend it.

Making a template to carve a pumpkin is a lot easier than you might imagine. The tutorial is for Photoshop CS3, but he doesn't use many if any tools that aren't available in a lot of the older versions. Also by watching how he does it, you could incorporate his concepts into making your own templates.

Really there are a lot of concepts that apply to making all sorts of templates that are useful to pumpkin stencils.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ratatouille Pumpkin Carving Template

I've decided that it is time for me to post a new pumpkin carving pattern. This year I've chosen Remy from the movie Ratatouille. The best movie of 2007.

I really enjoyed it, hopefully using this pumpkin carving template will help you have a happy Halloween.

If you want to see my other pumpkin carving templates, here is the link.

Click the photo for a larger version.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Glory Days

This is me when I was 17 years old. It looks like I was dunking the ball with ease back then. It got a lot easier the next year. I put on a few more pounds of muscle and had a lot more practice. The last time I dunked it with any authority it was the first week or second week of February the year I was 19. I can remember the exact spot, it was in a gym that has a no dunking rule but they had break away rims and the temptation to show off is pretty high. I did it again a few weeks later at an outdoor court just south of Buenos Aires. The 20 months that followed I was really hard on my body. I estimate that I walked close to 9,900 km in that time. It was really hard on my knees. I've never really been the same since, as far as jumping ability is concerned. After a long rest, I had just put on too much weight to be able to do it very well.

I was a lot thinner. I had more hair on my head and less on my chest and in my nose. I've put on 50 lbs in the 13 years since this video was shot. I have dunked it a handful of times, but no more than 9 or 10 and it was close every time, and the actual height of the nets has be questionable.

What brings it up is that I did it last night for the first time in about 2 years, but just barely.


Monday, September 17, 2007


I think this is what happened to Tracie, not just with a sense of style, but everything. The main text of the post starts under the two photos.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Dead Tired From Working

I just finished the busiest week of my studio's busiest season. My boss said that between us, we photographed over 10,000 kids. That's not including the college sports teams; 2 volleyball, 2 basketball, 2 soccer, golf and the administrators. It also doesn't include 25 volleyball teams at a local tournament or the three families that we did today.

I don't think that I've had so many 13 hour days in one week before. I'm tired, I've had a headache for 2 days. I just want to sleep.

Beyond the pain, I do have to admit that it was pretty fun.

One kid at a junior high.

Me, "Sit down and point your knees at my computer." I point at my computer.
Kid, remains in a fog.
Me, "POINT YOUR KNEES AT MY COMPUTER." I shake my hand as I point at my computer.
Kid, "What? Where?" more fog around this kids head.
Me, I point at my computer.
Kid, Walks over to me, "What?"
Me, I point at my computer and say, "Point your knees at my computer."
Kid, Lifts knee and touches it to the computer.
Kid, "Right here?" points to the ground at my feet.
Me, "NO! ON YOUR CHAIR. SIT ON YOUR CHAIR AND TURN YOUR KNEES SO THEY POINT AT THE LAPTOP COMPUTER ON MY TABLE!" I think to myself this kid is dumber than a bag of pucks.

At the Volleyball tournament.

Me, "Smile, one, two," Click.
Kid, Smiles

Setting up for one of the high schools on Tuesday.

Female Coworker, "I was going to make those business cards for you, Gary, but I got distracted."
Me jokingly, "Saw something shiny, eh?"
My Boss, loud laughter.

Earlier today.

Female Coworker, "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, HEY DID YOU SEE THAT KIDS SHIRT!?!?! IT WAS REALLY SHINY!!! IT WAS xxxxx BRAND OF SHIRT........" Voice trails off.
Me, "Don't worry, I won't tell the boss."


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Photographing Stuff

Well, we finished the first high school last week and I did a junior high school today and tomorrow we are on to our first elementary school. Time is just flying by. It seems like the day of shooting head shots is going by much faster than it did last year. Maybe we've removed a lot of the kinks from our system or something. I'm pretty happy with how things are going.

On the long weekend I went to see my sister and shoot a wedding with her. It went very well. I think that shooting with me gives Jackie a little stress because I point out things that she would have missed. But she's pretty happy with my photos and likes getting help posing the bigger groups.

In fact she asked me to stay for a shoot she had planned for the next day with a group of 11 people Grandparents, kids, and grand kids. It seemed pretty straightforward to me, but that's basically what I do, families of various sizes. Jackie just wants to shoot toddlers and basically nothing else. She's making such a name for herself that she just keeps getting all sorts of bookings and she has a hard time saying no, at least a little.

I told her to just make her prices so high for the things she doesn't like doing that she can't refuse. I don't know how she liked that idea or if she took me seriously.

Anyway I had a really good time shooting with her. I think we learn a lot from each other every time we shoot together. At least I hope she's learning stuff from me because I'm learning from her a lot. Especially how to act around the kids. New schtick always helps.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


My brother-in-law Glen won a district qualifier for the World Long Drive Championship. Now he gets to compete at the World Long Drive Event in Mesquite Nevada.

Good luck Glen, pick us up some barbecue sauce while you're down there!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Out of body experiences

Probably by now everyone has heard that scientists now claim that they can produce "out of body experiences " by using cameras . What a crock. When they can produce the same effect on a person who has been declared clinically dead or even on a person that is blindfolded then they'll be doing something that we'll have to look twice at.

School Shooting

We finished our first day of shooting at one of the local high schools. I ended up doing portraits for 170 kids or so over the course of the day. The 8th and 9th graders are now mostly done. There are a few stragglers mostly kids who are still on vacation with their parents, probably a few who just didn't show up, and of course there are those who have moved to new schools.

I have to say several things about these kids.

First is that lots of them are in a complete fog. For example when one kid was finished getting his photos done, he asked the photographer where to go next.

"Go over to the printers, pick your stuff up and then go to the stage to get your locker." Imagine the photographer pointing at a table with four printers on it. The kid heads over to the printers and just walks right by.

"WHOA! YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR" He walked right past the printers.

"You forgot to get your stuff from the printers" says the photographer.

"Where are the printers?" asks the kid

"You walked right past them, come back five steps, the printers are right there on that table." You've got to keep in mind that the only thing in the entire room are our shooting stations and this table with four printers on it.

Second. These kids dress like a bunch of retards. The so called, "Emo" kids, are the worst of all. Five years ago these kids would have been called been goths. Now it's a lot cooler to dress like a goth, but call yourself emotional. That's why they are so sad all the time. I think they are sad because they get their hair done at a dog wash and it (their hair) covers their eyes like a sheepdog that hasn't actually had a haircut in a long time. Then there is the emo boy's pants. Actually they're more likely the emo boy's little sister's pants. Now I never was one for wearing a pair of pants that only covers halfway up your ass crack and maybe I'm a little stuck in the mid 90's, but, REALLY TIGHT FLOOD PANTS THAT DON'T COVER YOUR BUM AND LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG TO YOUR LITTLE SISTER ARE STUPID.

Another thing for you emotional kids. The world is not out to get you. It doesn't care enough about what you do, to be out to get you. You are not a special little snowflake unique in all the world. In fact nothing you are feeling is actually different from what the other 6 billion people in this world felt when they were your age. The difference is you're more whiny.

After that rant, I just want to say that I had a great time doing the photos on Friday. It is really fun. I'm looking forward to the 10s, 11s and 12s, on Monday. The first day went very smoothly. If everything goes this well on Monday and Tuesday we are going to compress the number of days we shoot at that school next year.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Ethanol for fuel

There was an interesting article in the news tonight about the production of ethanol for fuel. They said that there is huge amounts of corn now growing in the state of Iowa that is slated to be made into alcohol for fuel. They also said that huge expensive ethanol factories are springing up everywhere. There are some reasons why this is all going to be a waste of time and money. The reasons are as follows. First of all the growing of corn requires fuel for the tractors and machinery. Some experts estimate that it will take more than a gallon of gasolene to produce one gallon of alcohol. Further more the price of corn has taken a steep climb and therefor the price of food has gone up. This looks like another fiasco. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mo and Steve

Last night I did some Photos for some friends of mine, Mo and Steve. We had a pretty good time, although we went out a little late and the sun was a little low in the sky to be just right.

I got a few really good shots that I'm sure they will be happy with. I really enjoyed the visit with them.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

I went to see the Simpsons movie today. I don't really know what to think. I didn't like it as much as I should have. I'm trying to figure out why. I suspect the main reason is that seeing it on the big screen was so much different than watching it on TV. I think there are several reasons.

With more money and time, they did more detailed animation. Sure it looked great, but it looked different.

I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure that the frame rate is different for tv than it is at the cinema. Those extra frames per second make a difference. Maybe I should say those extra frames per second make the program look different.

Widescreen format. I don't know why they would do this. It doesn't make sense that for 18 years or what ever to do a square shaped show then suddenly for the movie to make it widescreen. Lots of movies come out in a TV type format, why go to the extra animation expense. The strange aspect ratio threw me off.

Here's another thing. They made Schwarzenegger the president. Why the sudden change from Rainier Wolfcastle? It isn't as if we don't know Rainier is actually Arnold. I think they should have kept their regular characters.

All in all, I liked the movie, but I thought I would like it more. This movie is definitely a renter. Wait for the DVD, and get the one formatted to fit your tv.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Still Watching

I just watched the second episode of Flight of the Conchords. I'm just loving it.

The internet is just getting better and better. All sorts of new programs are suddenly available that I would have never seen before in a million years. Most of them are very good.

I recommend getting HBO or looking for Flight of the Conchords on youtube or some other website. Most of the clips on youtube are from their Comedy act, but there are also whole episodes of their show, split into three easily watchable parts.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Flight Of The Conchords - The Humans Are Dead

I just watched the first episode of a HBO show called Flight of the Conchords.

Flight of the Conchords follows the trials and tribulations of a two man, digi-folk band from New Zealand as they try to make a name for themselves in New York City.

This is a youtube clip of the two stars performing one of their songs. This clip is not from the show itself.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Many photographers complain that microstock agencies are ruining the stock photography industry. That they are charging too little and replacing quality with quantity.

They argue that it is a bad thing that you can make 500 photographs with your digital camera for the cost of re-charging the battery. In the same breath they complain that people are charging less for a copy of the photo than it costs to make the photo. Obviously both cannot be true. I think that the real answer is that microstockers are charging less than it costs traditional stock photographers to make the photos.

On bit of accounting that I admit I and most microstockers overlook is the cost of the camera and lenses etc. Most microstock photographers are probably not including the price of their camera as a cost of making the photo. Even if they did, the cost of the camera would have to be divided between all the photos that they take, or at the very least submit to the agency. For me, from what I have submitted to, each photo likely cost me around $10 in equipment expenses and maybe $2 each in my own time. I guess that means I have spent $12 per photo on average, to produce my portfolio. Over the last year and four months, I have made about $7 per photo selling them as stock.

That looks like a loss of $5 per photo on equipment, but here's the rub, the thing that the traditional stock shooters don't realize. Most microstock photographers had their camera before they started shooting for stock. The cost of their equipment is sunk. The money they spent is gone already. No matter what they do, that money is gone, they needed a camera to take pictures of the family and now they are using it for stock too. In the eyes of the microstocker, this is a $7 gain per photo.

I know how much I spent and realize that so far I am sitting at a $5 loss so far, but I have a spreadsheet that is predicting that I will break even at the end of November. If I shoot 250 more photos over the next year after that, my equipment cost will have dropped to $5 per photo meaning that suddenly the cost of my photos will have dropped to $7 but my profit per photo will have gone up significantly because on average it is likely the new photos will sell as well as the old photos and the old photos will continue to sell.

Another form of payment the microstockers get is hard to put a monetary value on. Many, many people love taking photos. Their friends enjoy modeling for them. They all love seeing the photos used. When a photo gets used it is an affirmation that you as a photographer are talented and that your friends as models are attractive. That is worth a lot. Self actualization, is worth big bucks to a lot of people. Heck, it is why I have the job I do, sure I would like to be making double what I am, but I love my job more than any other job I have ever had. I can't imagine a better job. I feel a lot the same about microstock. Over the last year and four months 2165 people have figuratively patted me on the back by purchasing my photos. That's almost 5 people per day, and it just keeps on rising.

Traditional shooters are moaning the death of stock as a viable career choice for photographers. What they don't mention is the high barrier to entry into the traditional rights managed stock photography agencies.

I looked into it several years ago, I can't remember what agency it was, Getty or Corbis, but they wanted potential photographers to submit a library of many thousands of photos and then, after a certain amount of time they would accept you or send you packing and by the way, don't apply again. Basically it was impossible for anyone except seasoned professionals with a huge libraries of photos to become contributing members of the company I looked at. Today I checked both of their websites and can't find a link on how to even apply anymore.

Now the barriers to entry to being a stock photographer are gone. Anyone can sign up at I've made almost $1600 since March 2006. $1300 of that came since the beginning of 2007. By the end of the year, all my camera gear will be paid off. Depending how hard I work making new stock photos, I will probably be able to buy a full set of studio lights as well. From only 240 photos so far.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Karen The Beautiful Bride

This photo is by my sister Jackie and is not
from the shoot that I did this afternoon.
I had a really good day at work today.

The event of the day was a wedding shoot. It was a really fun one. I did their engagement photo a few months ago and they were really fun people. It is funny how that, with some people you can have the greatest time so easily, and yet with others, you can just be stumped. Like writer's block for photographers.

It is so nice when everyone follows directions well, when they laugh at your jokes and things just seem to flow. At one point I asked the two flower girls to kiss the groom on the cheek. One did, but the other didn't want to. I said to the other, "Well, will you put your hand on his shoulder?" She did, but it was more of a hit to the shoulder than something nice. Everyone saw it, so I said, "I love you Ike" and hit my fist on the table beside me. Everyone thought that this was hilarious.

I'm getting a little more responsibility at work. I'm laminating the photos now. It's a good thing, because this is sort of a slow time for us and I like having something to do.

It also allows my boss to working on programing the databases and other software that we use when we're photographing at the schools. There are several edits that need to be made because we are getting new cameras for the coming school year. Programing is really something that needs to be done without interruptions.

Also the more I know about running the shop, the more likely and easier it will be for me to buy and take it over in a couple of years.

It's good to be back in business. I really love my job.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I went to play baseball with a bunch of kids from church last night. We had a pretty good time, and lots of kids showed up. There were only about 4 or 5 that actually were interested in playing, but most of the rest dutifully stood out in the field.

I hit a line drive into the pitcher's ankle. It wouldn't of hit him, but it scared him and he dodged right into it. I felt pretty bad about it, but he was ok.


Long Beard

I'm growing my beard starting now. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Job News

I went to see my boss this morning and I got my old job back. They've done a lot in the last month that I've been away. It looks like there is going to be a few new things, but nothing major.

I'm excited to be back there, I really love the job a lot and really like working for Duane. In the long term I would like to buy the business from him. But that's likely at least two or three years away.

On the apartment hunt, it looks like I may have an in. One of my Dad's renter is moving out and leaving his room mate behind. I may move in there.

So, I guess my ducks are all lining up.

I guess that leaves finding divorce attorney and getting the oil changed in my car.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm back home in Canada now. I guess that means I'm looking for a place to live and a job again.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Tracie and I are getting a divorce. I'm coming back to Canada as soon as I can.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

We Found a Flat

Tracie and I have found a place to live. It is in the same building we were in before which is handy because we already sort of know our way around. The room mates are really nice too.

Things are going well, but I am still looking for a job.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Virgin Mobile is Bad

So Virgin Mobile is taking people's photos from flickr to use in a major billboard promotion here in Sydney, Australia.

The photo on the left side has a creative commons 2.0 attribution licence. Which means:
Virgin Mobile is free
- to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- to Remix — to adapt the work

But that they must
- attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

While the photographer presumably doesn't care that virgin mobile is using his photo. I think that Virgin is using the photo that suggests an endorsement by the photographer.

The other problem with this advert is the fact that you can see the model's face. Is there a model release for this photo? How do we know that the model doesn't hate Virgin Mobile. How do we know that the model is ok with being the butt of a masturbation joke? If I were the model I would probably sue Virgin Mobile for using my likeness in a advertisement. One thing companies have to remember is that just because the photographer gives or even sells you a photo doesn't give you the right to use the person in the photo to advertise your stuff.

The photo on the right has a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 licence. This means Virgin can
-copy, distribute and transmit the work as well as adapt the work.
-They must however attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). not use this work for commercial purposes.
-If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence to this one.

So Virgin is blatantly breaking the licence on this second fact, not to mention the fact that there is likely no model release for the person in the photo. Another thing is the whole "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence to this one." thing. They put their company logo on the resulting work. Are we to believe that Virgin Mobile is licensing their logo under the creative commons? I doubt it.

This seems to me like a lawsuit waiting to happen. I find myself hoping that one day I'll be riding the subway somewhere and see a billboard of myself so that I can get a $15.6 million settlement.

These aren't the only photos Virgin Mobile has used without proper authorisation, just the two closest to me before I got onto the train.
-Gary Milner

Monday, June 25, 2007

Please Step Inside

Attention everyone!

Saying, "Excuse me" to someone exiting an elevator as you are trying to enter it doesn't make any sense. There is no where for them to go except off of the elevator.

Saying, "Excuse me" doesn't make the person suddenly take up less space on the elevator.

What you should be saying is, "Excuse me for being monumentally stupid" because that is what you are.

It is much faster *for everyone* involved to just get out of the way and let people vacate the elevator.

Oh and by the way, the same thing goes for entering and exiting public transit. I am a fast walker, I want to get out of your way, I really do.

In the words of Jerry Macguire, help me help you.


"I looked it up on google, but couldn't find anything."

"You were probably using Chinese google. It's censored."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Back Up Your Files All the Time

A while ago I learned that backing up your files is important. I learned it the hard way.

While working on my old desktop computer I had come to the conclusion that the best way of proceeding would be to format and re install Windows 2000. I figured that it would make things on my old computer better, and besides, I had copied all my photos onto my laptop anyway.

Well, a few days later, my brother-in-law Dan called to ask for a copy of the pictures I took of his lizards. I looked for them on my laptop and what did I find? A big hole occupying the space of what I thought was supposed to be 2003, 2004, and the first half of 2005. Oh crap! I was pretty sad about this but resigned myself to the error.

Learn from your mistakes. I backed up the rest of my photos over the next few days.

Then yesterday, I was telling Jeff, my brother, that I had lost all those particular photos and he asked me if I had checked my parents computer because I had copied all my photos onto their new computer before I went to Australia in 2005. Apparently, I was worried about the state of my desktop computer for a while and wasn't sure if the hard drive would live.

Jeff was right I had copied all my photos onto their computer. I was sure that they had had several hard drive issues on their computer but they never did. Talk about a pleasant surprise. I copied them back onto my desktop computer (it has a new 200gig hd) over the network, just because it is a good idea to back up your files.

It took about an hour over our network, which surprised me but I guess over those two and a half years I had accumulated 10 gigs or so of photos. I'm sending them all to flickr now, but I don't think I will get through them all before I go to Australia.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Climber

I went to Drayton Valley over the weekend to photograph a wedding with my sister Jackie. It was a really fun time. I was acting as her assistant. I took pictures of the guys getting ready at the groom's house while Jackie took pictures of the girls back at the hotel. We shot the ceremony together then I helped Jackie with the lights and group formals at the hotel. Once the family shots were done, we took turns shooting the bride and groom.

I really like working with Jackie a lot. We have very complimentary skills and styles. I think that I'm a lot stronger with the technical side of shooting and equipment as well as controlling and posing larger groups, while Jackie is a lot stronger with more artistic posing in small groups and individuals.

Jackie wants me to open up a studio with her a lot and I think that it would be pretty fun.

While I was there, I had a good time visiting with Jackie and playing with the boys. Those kids are so fun, but a lot of work too. Ryker is a star with the Wii, he plays bowling, golf and boxing. He does pretty well at boxing, I think he randomly flails his arms at pretty much exactly the correct speed to do serious damage to his opponents. Eric likes to grab the other controller and wave it in the air like his brother. He doesn't even care if the Wii is turned on while he does it.

Those boys are really cute. I had a really good time visiting them.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


This is an example of panning. One of the easiest ways to pan in fact. Here's how to pan in a few simple steps.

Set your camera to Aperture Priority and stop down to f22. It doesn't really have to be that high, anything that will slow your shutter speed down to about 1/30 or 1/40 should do just fine.

Then get on the merry-go-round and have someone spin you and your model. Remind your model to hold as still as she can. You should hold your camera as still as possible as well. Then your assistant spins the ride.

Because the ride and the model are still in relation to the camera and the rest of the world is not, she will be in good focus, but the world will not be. The further that both the model and the camera are from the centre of the ride, the more pronounce the blur will be even at low RPMs.

Lost of cameras should be able to do a photo like this. Check to see if you can adjust the aperture on yours and give it a try. If you do, post a link in the comments!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Walk

We walked from our house down to Kin Coulee and took some photos this evening. We had a pretty good time.

Things have been going well. I went to Fox Valley Saskatchewan to do their grad formal photos. The other photographer, Marley, did all the individual shots while I worked on the family groups. We did 15 families. It was a long gruelling day, considering that we had to leave at six in the morning to get everything set up and then by the time we finished shooting everything at about 5pm we still had to pack up and drive for a little over an hour to get back home.

I miss understood my boss when he told me he wanted to set the studio props back up in the morning. He had intended that we unload the truck that night, but I took off thinking that we were going to do it in the morning. I was really glad to get out of there though.

It looks like we will be having a few relaxing days before another hectic day of grad formals when we have the CHHS banquet. Since all the girls are having their hair and makeup done that day, they all want to have their photos done that day too. No to mention the fact that all the boys will have their rental tuxes too. Luckily the word is spreading among the girls that you really should have a practice hair and make up day, that is to say get your hair and make up done a week before the event to make sure they aren't going to screw it up on grad night.

Pure marketing genius. Makeup artists and hair stylists double their business and give the photographers a chance to fill up a lot more appointments for an entire week before the grad ceremony, not just the day of.

I really love my job. The thing is, even when you have a really full, stressful day, you know that the next day will be better because you don't have as many appointments or if dealing with a person that just can't keep their head from tilting to the side or nose pointed at the camera you know that you'll really only be dealing with them for an hour. If you can't stand the stupid kid who doesn't want to stand by his sister or the dumb uncle who really doesn't want to be there you know that you can just shoot faster or only take 3 shots per pose rather than 4 or 5. Really you'll end up with the same photos at the end any way.

The good days more than make up for the bad days. You'll get 3 or 4 really pretty girls that really want to be there, that are excited to be graduating, that are really fun people and you really have fun doing it. You realize that if you won the lottery, you would still want to work there doing the same thing only for free.

Life is being really good to me right now.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I've seen people complaining that not many microstock photographers are posting their statistics online, so seeing no reason not to, here are mine.

Month Downloads Revenue Uploads
Mar 06 1 $0.27 3
Apr 06 4 $2.00 1
May 06 7 $3.80 25
Jun 06 30 $11.60 14
Jul 06 63 $24.60 42
Aug 06 90 $38.80 44
Sep 06 93 $42.20 7
Oct 06 104 $53.20 2
Nov 06 82 $33.60 14
Dec 06 101 $54.25 3
Jan 07 169 $113.56 36
Feb 07 191 $136.01 10
Mar 07 217 $206.49 10
Apr 07 223 $198.59 11
May 07 160 $123.25 0

1535 $1,042.22 222

Of course, May isn't over yet but you get the idea. It's pretty obvious that I need 1800 more uploads. Well, probably less, because as you build your portfolio, you clue in to what sells, and also become a better photographer. Another factor is the growth of the site itself, with more and more buyers joining everyday, each photo will perform that much better for you.

It's getting to the point that I can request a cheque about every two weeks or so. It's turning out to be a nice addition to my day job cheque which, although larger comes just about as often. It's like getting a $1.25/hour raise. is a good way to find inexpensive stock photos as well as a good way to make a few extra dollars.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

First Sunburn of the Year

Today we had four outdoor sittings. One family group of about 30, two graduation formals with families and boyfriends, and a wedding. We were outside the entire day, and what a day it was, it was 30 degrees C the entire time.

The nicest day of the year so far.

So nice in fact that I received a mild sunburn for the first time this year. It doesn't feel too bad yet, but it usually takes a little while for the full effects of a sunburn to reveal themselves.

I can't wait to go swimming outdoors.


Friday, May 11, 2007


So I turned 30 on the 8th.

I had a really great day on my birthday, my boss bought me an ice cream cake.

The day after was pretty darn good too. I went out to Schuler, a town so small, they don't have a gas station. I did photos of their volleyball teams, the basketball team, the badminton team and the student council / yearbook committee / entire junior high (They're a hard working group of student politicians doing triple duty like that). School aged kids are pretty fun in 1.5 hour doses.

In fact the last few days have been going very well.

I bought myself a new flash for my camera, and I am really excited about it. The first day of test pictures look great, and I am looking forward to using it more. It is going to be a real benefit to me. It really is working well straight out of the box, which is really good, because today, I tried to read the manual and, well... it made me want to die. So, apart from learning how to add an optional battery to make the flash recycle time shorter. It looks like I will be mostly learning by trial and error.

In any case, I'm doing well just not writing much for the blog. It doesn't seem like I've been in the mood. Hopefully this invigorates me a little.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Money

The cheques keep on coming in. I received my second today, for $213. My plan before was to keep a small balance on my account just so that I would always be able to make a payment request, but it seems like the balance rises fast enough that it will probably never be too big of a wait before I can request another cheque.

Looking at my sales graphs, it seems as if my monthly istock sales are rapidly approaching 10% of what I'm getting paid for my day job. That says to me that I need to quickly shoot another 1800 half decent photos to add to my meager 200, then I'll really be laughing.

My spreadsheet suggests that at the rate I'm going it will be four more years before I even hit 1000. I guess I need to step things up a little.

The real problem isn't so much shooting the pictures as much as coming up with ideas of what to shoot. The ideas are the real hard part.


Old Ford

A kid came in the other day to pick up his photos. His buddy was out in the truck and their stereo was just blasting. The bass was shaking the whole studio, not just their old truck.

I said to the kid, "Is the knob that controls the bass on your stereo is broken?"

He said, "No, I don't think so."

It was a struggle for me and my co-worker to keep a straight face.

The kid continued, "In fact, I have a better stereo in my parent's basement. I just haven't put it in yet."

Apparently he hadn't decided which vehicle he wanted the better stereo in.

After he left, uncontrollable laughter.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Idea Crack

Ze Frank, has just recently finished making a video pod cast everyday for an entire year. That's a lot of videos.

One of my favourites was his response to someone asking if he was afraid of running out of ideas. He said, of course, but that is why as soon as he gets an idea he goes out and does it as quickly as possible.

It might not work the first time, the second time or even the third time, but even if you can't get it to work after three tries, you have three times as much experience doing it as someone who didn't try at all.

It is Ze's belief that people can get addicted to ideas. They are so afraid of failure that they become addicted to having the idea in their mind, that they plan to do someday, and someday never comes.

The more they think about their idea, the more perfect it needs to be carried out. Eventually the completing the idea becomes so unattainable that it can never be anything but an idea.

Ze calls it Brain Crack, but I think that a better name is idea crack, because it is the ideas that we become addicted to.

I guess the reason that this idea of Idea Crack is so interesting to me is that I am somewhat addicted to having ideas.

Several years ago, I saw some boy scouts selling cotton candy at the Medicine Hat parade. It was such a compelling thing to me, I really wanted to sell cotton candy. I thought about the idea for over a year. I looked up cotton candy machines on the internet trying to find out how or where to get one. I used formulas I learned in my managerial accounting class to make a excel spreadsheet to figure out the contribution margin of each unit of cotton candy so I would know how much I would have to sell to make buying a machine worth while as well as run through various scenarios detailing different levels of sales.

Then after almost a year and a half of thinking about it, I pitched the idea to the entrepreneur club at my faculty at the U of C. The girl I talked to thought it was a great idea. I could rent a machine and find some other people to work the booth while I was in class. etc. I can't remember for sure, but I think they were willing to float a loan, but the profits had to go to some charity.

Well, the cat was out of the bag by that point. I didn't need to buy a $1500 cotton candy machine. I could rent one from a party rental company. Screw experience, I was only in it for the money. The experience would be a nice afterthought.

The next Canada Day I sold well over $300 worth of cotton candy at the stampede parade in Raymond.

The next bit of idea crack stay in my head for a lot less time. The U of C Chinese club at the used to sell Texas doughnuts at a booth in the Student centre. It seemed like a great idea to me, but I didn't want to actually do it. Then the next year the Chinese Club quit selling them. I don't know if a key member graduated but anyway, my friend James Keller started selling them for his club.

He raved and rave about how easy it was and that they practically sold themselves. Well selling them sold itself to me. I asked him lots of questions about it and found out all I could. Still, it took me a year before I took the plunge for the first time. I was more successful selling the doughnuts that I had been selling the cotton candy. I went on to do the Texas doughnuts a bunch more times. The best thing about selling the doughnuts was that the bakery where I got them gave them to me on credit. They said to have a cheque ready for them the next day when they came to get their trays. I had all the money from the sales before I even paid for the doughnuts. It was great.

Since then the incubating time for my ideas has continued to drop significantly but it is still much longer than I would like it to be. It isn't anywhere near the speed of my sister who can come up with an idea and be working on it before you even have time to put on your shoes.

Anyway, I've been thinking of doing a basketball shot like this for about a month. That may or may not seem like much, but it is my hobby and there were no hurdles to overcome, other than going to a gymnasium.

This photo was one of the out takes, because you can see the Wilson / NCAA logos.

-Gary Milner

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's Better than $599.99?

My first cheque came from today. I'm pretty pleased with it. It is a big one too.

You can cash out in amounts greater than $100, but I let mine account grow a little before I requested my cheque. The microstock business is going very well for me. So far this month I'm averaging a little over $6/day.

Here is an upto date history of my downloads.

03/06 : 1
04/06 : 4
05/06 : 7
06/06 : 30
07/06 : 63
08/06 : 90
09/06 : 93
10/06 : 103
11/06 : 82
12/06 : 101

01/07 : 169
02/07 : 191
03/07 : 217
04/07 : 87 (So far)

As you can see, I've already eclipsed my total downloads for last year and it is only April. is working well for me. I just need to get more photos posted and things will really start picking up.

I've got a couple of good ideas that I'm going to implement tonight.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How embarrassing...Iran captures 15 Brits

I just wanted to add my two bits about the Iranian Hostage taking event. Here's the deal. Lots of British people were embarrassed at the reaction of the British Goverment to the incident. In their own words they thought that Britain should immediately hussle to Iran and" cuff them about the head and ears." They also thought that the hostages should have made the Iranians torture the hell out of them before capitulating. Here's my reasoning. Had the British attacked Iran, the hostages would never have been released. They and thousands of others would have been killed. Also, it's a well known fact that noone can resist torture. People are willing to say anything to make the torturing stop. That being the case, why put yourself through it? I think I figured that one out when I was about five years old. Maybe I'm smarter than the Brits.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Good Shepard? Not So Great

I watched 45 minutes of this movie and thought. If movies aren't good in the first 30 minutes, they ain't getting any better in the next hour and a half. I watched for another 30 minutes and decided not to waste anymore time.

Matt Damon starred in this turd parade. Usually a film watcher doesn't want anything bad to happen to the main character but to tell you the truth, I was hoping that he would get killed or possibly trip, maybe even get a splinter in his finger, anything just as long as something would have happened I could have been happy.

The only good thing about this movie is that I got it free because of Blockbuster's guaranteed in policy.

Arrested Development

Watching tv series on DVD is the only way to go. I just finished watching all three seasons of Arrested Development and I really enjoyed them. I recommend them to anyone. It is a show about a rich family who lost everything and the one son that had no choice but to keep them all together.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Disney Redeems Itself

The new movie, "Meet the Robinsons" is so good, I can now say that I have forgiven Disney for making Pocahontas.

Tracie and I went to see it with Megan, Dan and Eva on Friday night. We both really enjoyed it a lot. I recommend it to anyone. It was the best movie either of us have seen in a long time.

It is the story of an orphaned inventor who meets a boy from the future and travels there on a quest to find his mother.

Very funny, and wildly entertaining, "Meet the Robinsons" is fine holiday fun. Two thumbs way up. In fact, my thumbs are higher than yours.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Should John Paul be made a saint

Because the late John Paul 2nd was a popular leader of the Catholic church, there are those that want to honor him by giving him the title of "saint". One of the criteria for becoming a saint says that you must have performed at least one miracle in your life. I think what this really means is that you must have had enough persuasion at least once in your life to get'God' to perform a miracle. According to a story I saw in the news tonight a catholic nun has come forward who says that John Paul gave her a blessing, and that very night she was cured of (some kind of incurable nueral desease) . If indeed John Paul carried off this miracle I think you have to wonder why he didn't perform lots of miracles. Why only the one?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First Istockphoto Cheque

I requested my first cheque from It's going to be a whopping $600 US. I'm getting pretty excited for it. They say that it will take about 10 days for it to get here.

My next goal is to make enough money to request another cheque before the previous one arrives.

Payment is available via paypal, but I don't have an account and it doesn't seem entirely clear how you get your money from them once someone has put money in your paypal account. You would think they would put that in their FAQ.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vote For Me

I submitted a photo so JPG Magazine. Three main topics for photos are chosen. They publish all user submitted photos, and they let the world vote on which photo to publish. If your photo gets published, you get $100 and a subscription to the magazine.

This is one of my entries.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baaaa RAM Ewe

So I've upgraded both my laptop and old desktop with more RAM. I thought that it would make a difference for both computers, but I never knew how much.

My boss at the studio gave me one of his old RAM chips to put in my laptop and I immediately noticed the difference, especially when I use photoshop to convert raw files into jpgs. Even for the rest of my daily use, it seems like the whole thing is running more smoothly.

For my desktop, I took a RAM chip from my parent's old computer that is having power supply issues. Well, it made a world of difference! I should have done it a long time ago. I don't have to wait nearly as long for anything anymore.

Don't skimp on RAM, it makes a huge difference.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Life Marches On

I've been in kind of a daze lately, not really in the mood to post about much of anything lately.

I went to Calgary with Jeff a few days ago, and we took part in a study about bloggers and blogging at the U of C. I was one of the most interesting conversations I have had in a long time. I wish I had been recording it. We discussed this history of our internet use and a lot about why we blog. It was a very enjoyable trip with Jeff.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Since 1994

I’m in love with Tracie. I always have been. Since I saw her at the bowling alley and decided to go after her, I knew that I want her affection.

I can talk to her and she can talk to me. We have the most wonderful conversations. I love taking long trips with her in the car because they give us an opportunity to talk about life, dreams and goals. One of my favorite memories of her is our trip to Vancouver, sitting in the car driving along talking. We love to analyze things together and figuring things out, discussing movies, books, how birth order affects people’s personalities and things like that.

She is beautiful. Seeing her is great, I can remember having picture days with her and then looking at the photos everyday and carrying them around on my mission.

We have lots of common interests. We like similar things. If I see something I like I want to tell her about it and talk about it with her.

We want to do nice things for each other. I want her to be happy. Sometimes I think about what I can do as a surprise nice thing for her.

She works hard. She is very smart. She is very talented. Those are three attributes that I think are amazing. They are things that attract me to her like crazy. Work ethic, intelligence and talent are the most important things about anybody and she has them all.

Tracie supports my desire to be a photographer and wants me to succeed. She likes taking photos with me and is even learning how to be a photographer herself.

Daylight Savings = Heart Heart Unicorn Rainbow

I LOVE daylight savings time. I'm saving electricity right now! The lights are all off, and I can still see everything. It is like summer has started already.

I wish we could just have daylight savings all the time. Having a little more sun after work is the greatest thing ever.


Happy Birthday Jeff

It is my brother's birthday today. You'd think I'd choose a photo of him by himself, but I don't want him to get all full of himself.

His birthday is March 12th but I've sort of always wished he had come eight days sooner. That way if he was bugging me I could say, "March forth", to get rid of him. In a mix between "happy birthday and get lost kid ya bug me."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Istock in Action

One of my istock photos was found out in the big wide world today. Jeff's friend Louise, from Brisbane, received this publication on her desk.

Louise told Jeff that she recognised Tracie from our photos on flickr.

This is the first time I've encountered on of my istock photos in print, and the second one I've found. The other one was on a website that emailed me to let me know.

I'm selling heaps of photos on istock and things just keep getting better and better.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Babel Sucked

I hate to use the term turd parade to describe a movie and then I rented Babel and changed my mind. I could have spent the time doing the dishes or slamming my hand in the door.

I should have known it was a crappy movie from the trailer. Everytime the trailer came on tv I wanted to see the movie less than the time before. If when you see advertising for a movie and it makes you want to avoid the movie, do it.

Avoid Babel at all costs.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My Brothers Game

My brother made a new flash game to test how well you know the provinces in Canada. Try it and link to it right away.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stock Photo Update

In three weeks I'm going to hit the one year anniversary of my first download from Istock. Right now I've had 891 downloads, worth a little over $485 to me. I'm pretty sure that I'll have hit $500 by March 1st. I've cracked $100 This month and last month.

Here is a month by month breakdown, although I'll probably have at least 15 more downloads this month.

03/06 : 1
04/06 : 4
05/06 : 7
06/06 : 30
07/06 : 63
08/06 : 90
09/06 : 93
10/06 : 103
11/06 : 82
12/06 : 101

01/07 : 169
02/07 : 147 (So far)

It is going pretty well I'd say. A lot better than I had imagined.

I have 200 photos uploaded which means that my photos have averaged $2.43 each over the course of the year. I do have to point out that 74 of my images have never been downloaded. I also want to point out the fact that not all 200 of my photos were uploaded at the beginning of the year, in fact many of my early photos haven't sold at all, and many of my top sellers didn't get uploaded for six or more months later.

I guess there are several reasons why the average earning is important. The most important being that they throw out the stat that if you average ₤2 per photo from your rights managed stock, you are doing pretty well. The idea being that you have 10,000 photos in your portfolio. ₤2 in Canadian money is about $4.54

It would appear that I'm a little behind as far as doing pretty well, but like I said, not all my files were uploaded right from the very start which dilutes the yearly statistics a little.

In fact I only had one file the first month and then the next month only three more were added. It takes a little while to figure out exactly what good stock photography actually is, and particularly what will sell. It doesn't seem like it should be, but stock photography is an entirely different type of photography than any other genre which is weird because you can cover all the same subjects. You just shoot them differently.

Well, I guess I write more on the subject later. I hate to be constantly writing about the same thing, but I this is what is important to me right now and it is better than not writing at all.

In a brain flash, I just realized that how to decide what to write about would be a very good topic to write about.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Back to the Grind

I started back up doing grad photos again. We finished Eagle Butte High School and have moved on to McCoy. The kids are pretty much the same. It's still fun, and I'm glad to be back onto a more steady part of my job instead of waiting around for people to come into the studio.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

I'm Coming Home

Sunday morning I woke up and caught the bus from the hostel to La Guardia. Upon arrival at the airport, I tried to enter my 5 letter code into the self-check in computer. It couldn't find my reservation.

I went up to the desk and told the lady that I was having trouble checking in with the computer. She asked what flight and when was it.

I looked at the paper and said with a sinking heart, "March 11, oh boy, this is embarrassing."

As it turns out, the ladies at the desk had been warned that the website had had a glitch and was changing people tickets from February 11 to March 11 and they change my ticket for me. Thank goodness. It was almost no hassle, except for the hassle.

The flight to Montreal was incident free.

As I was boarding the plane in Montreal, a man was arguing with the boarding agent over the fact that his two daughters (probably only 3 and 5) had been bumped from the flight because the plane had been over booked. I assume this had to do with the website fiasco I had found out about earlier in the day. Luckily I had checked in hours earlier in New York and so my seat had been assured.

On the flight to Calgary none of the televisions on my half of the plane worked. This made me feel sad especially since when I had originally chosen my seat, I would have been on the other side of the plane. (I always pick the right hand side of the plane when I have a choice).

Anyway, I made to home safely and Tracie was at the airport waiting for me.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!

Saturday morning, I went out to get a few things done before the show. I wanted to get a hot shoe adaptor for my camera, but since B&H is closes Friday at noon until Sunday morning, I had to search around quite a lot. I found a place way downtown that had a huge store, but didn't stock hot shoe adaptors. This whole ordeal took up the whole morning and made me late for lunch with the istock crew.

I finally met up with them at some pub near irving plaza and was able to scarf down a burger and fries before we all headed over to the venue. We got into the building and started setting up for the shoot.

Things were a bit frantic but it was interesting to see how things were done. We were there for the soundcheck and got to see a little bit of a rehersal for the show. Some of the bands were more patient when it came to having their photos taken but most of them seemed to be in a hurry. Watching the sound check was cool.

About an hour before the show they made everyone with out working passes leave the building, until the start of the show. There seemed to be general confusion about this, but right on time, Bruce (the istock ceo) handed out recently obtained working passes and we were able to skip both the ticket holder line and the vip line.

The show was pretty cool. David Cross, from Arrested Development and School for Scoundrels was the MC for the night. He was pretty funny but some of their bits kind of bombed. All in all it was a really great show.

Concert photography is super fun. My #1 tip is to wear ear plugs. It makes the music much easier to hear and prevents your ears from bleeding. The music was so loud that my pants were vibrating from the all the bass. The fabric in my jeans was literally vibrating. That's loud, but it's part of what makes the event fun. The other great thing is pushing your way to the front of the crowd and then walking past the security guard into the space between the stage and the fence holding back the crowd and staying there for the whole show.

Sometimes I feel like a jerk for standing in front of the short people who fought their way to the fence to get a good view and then other times I just think boy this is just the greatest thing ever.

The show wrapped up at about midnight and because I wasn't sure when my flight was the next mornging I headed to Time Square to get a slice before going back to the hostel to rest before coming home.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Grand Central Station

This morning I went downtown on the train looking for several things, on my way I got a plain bagel with cream cheese. The first thing I happened upon was Grand Central Station. It is definately a huge building. Well worth seeing. I met an interesting guy there who was shooting a video to use as stock footage for something. If you've ever seen a picture of the inside of Grand Central Station, it was probably from the same vantage point where we were, at the top of the stairs on one end of the building. He had placed a red umbrella at the top of the stairs and was filming it from the top of a mini tripod. I was talking to him for a while when a cop came up and told him to move it. Apparently the cop's partner had come over to move it but then saw the guy filming it and said, "Oh, I didn't know you were filming it." The guy said, "Yeah, I'm probably breaking some ordinance." The cop told him not to worry about it. The guy was pretty happy that he was able to get three five minute clips before he was rousted, or is it ousted?

After Grand Central station, I saw the Chrysler building and then the United Nations. They let visitors into the UN, but I'm sick of going through metal detectors all the time so I didn't bother. I don't think I missed much anyway. Rockefeller center was good, but the skating rink seemed smaller in real life than it does in the movies. You couldn't play hockey on it that's for sure. I decided to get a standby ticket for Conan O'Brian, which looking back was a mistake. I spent a good portion of the day waiting around only to find out that I wasn't getting in anyway. I saw lots of interesting stuff walking around today so I'm not too disappointed.

It seems like there are still a few things I want to see and need to do before I start in on the awards show. I sort of wanted another memory card, I need to get a hot-shoe adapter for my camera so I can synch the lights. Ralph requested a couple of Yankees hats so I have to pick those up too. There are a few things I would still like to see, and somethings that I did see warrant a closer inspection while visiting but really that would take a travelling companion to discuss them with. I can say that all in all, I've seen and done most of the things I wanted to (free or mostly free things anyway) and I'm mostly ready to come home.

New York stands out as a great place, with tons of things for all tastes. There are tons of events in places like Sydney, as well, but you have to seek them out there much more actively.

One thing I do have to amend about previous posts is about the traffic. I said that it wasn't too bad, I still stand by that, but I have to amend it to except peak evening rush hour. It gets pretty bad at about 6pm. The train can't be beat for speed and effiency though. If you miss one, another one comes along very quickly. There is no way you could top the speed of the subway in a car either. The subway lines and stops are placed very well. You almost never have to walk more than three blocks on either end of your trip.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Photo Trip With No Photos? Whaaa?

I'm going to post my photos later once I have a chance to do a little culling and editing. I have well over 400 already and I'm hitting some major sights on the morrow, so I probably won't have time to get any up until Monday at the earliest.

House keeping out of the way, I'm having a great time. I've seen a majority of the sights and I'm hitting the eastern side of midtown pretty hard tommorow. I'm going to try to get standby tickets to Conan O'Brian tommorow. Jon Stewart and Dave Letterman don't tape on Fridays. I guess Conan should talk to his agent about the crappy hours he works.

The award show is Saturday. One and a half days of tourism then I'm all business baby. I'm getting excited. It's going to be a killer show.


Old New York Was Once New Amsterdam

Last night a guy quietly came into the room at about 2am. At 3am there was loud snoring. I probably wouldn't have notice except that I had had a nap for four hours earlier that night. He kept me awake until about 4:45 am when his loud snoring was interupted by loud vomiting and the splashing noise vomit makes as it hits the carpeted floor of a 12share room in a hostel. Luckily for everyone involved the overpowering smell of feet took care of the smell of vomit.

I must have fallen asleep sometime around 5:00 or so, but I don't think the angry asian in the bunk next to mine did. He kept sitting up and tossing and turning. He even went over to find the culprit. Luckily for him he didn't slip on or step in the puddle of vomit. I must have fallen asleep again shortly after that.

At around 6:30 I was awoken by the angry asian packing his bags to leave the hostel. I thought that I might as well get up because the snoring continued, and this way I could get a jump on the line in the shower. I'm told this is the biggest hostel in the world with 612 beds.

I keep calling this guy the angry asian, but that's not to say that I wasn't annoyed too. It's just that I know that I snore too, I do however try to sleep on my side to avoid snoring as well as responding well to people who shake my bedframe.

By bunk neighbour was just leaving as I was getting dressed after my shower. As I was putting on my socks, I noticed he had left his gloves on the bed. I ran down the hall in my stocking feet to tell him, but I just missed the elevator. Oh well. I got ready to go out for the day at a little past seven and as I stepped out the door, was the guy looking for his gloves no less. I let him know they were up on his bunk, using a series of grunts, whistles and hand motions that I had developed and later perfected during my stays in Hong Kong and Tokyo. He was very happy.

I caught the subway down to battery park, which is on the south end of the island. It is where you catch the Staten Island Ferry as well as the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The ferry costs $12 and will take you in a circular route to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island then back to Manhatten. Another ferry comes about every 20 minutes.

Let me tell you, it has been several years since I have been that cold.

The Statue of Liberty was interesting and well worth going to see. I felt sort of the same way about seeing it as I did seeing the Sydney Opera house. That is to say, "There it is, it looks just like it does in pictures and TV. That's pretty cool." The security is a little over the top though. They screen you before you get onto the ferry and then agian before you go into the pedastel of the statue.

I've been through a ton of metal detectors in the last little while. It seems rather random as to if they pick stuff up. On hit my belt, others, my glasses. The one in Calgary seemed to go off for no reason at all. The lady at the statue seemed surprised that the dectector to get on the boat hit my glasses but hers didn't. It all seems rather pointless to get screened twice just for that, but I guess it is an international icon.

At the top of the pedestal, several people asked the rangers when they stopped letting people go up inside the statue itself and if they though people would ever be allowed to go in again. Basically the answers were that although it was closed shortly after the 9/11 attacks, it was a long time coming. It isn't good for the statue for people to go up in there and it isn't good for the people either. It was a popular spot for graphiti and it isn't a particularly good view either.

I couldn't imagine the view from up there to be one bit different than from the top of the pedestal, but it would be somewhat interesting to see the guts of the statue up close.

The ferry took me to Ellis island next and that was very interesting. I didn't stay as long as I could have, but I found it to be a somewhat sad place. The emphasized the hardship and unfairness of the process of emigrating. Basically if you could afford a first or second class ticket the officials rubber stampped you because they figured you were a healthy hard working person with money. Everyone else got a good once over. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them. I mean, I think I would have been in the weathly group if it had been me, in fact I am in that situation right now with plans to go back to Oz in a few months. All we have to do is fill out some paper work and buy a ticket. Heck we'll arrive faster and we're going further than most immigrents to the USA. The worse thing we'll have to put up with is not getting our peanuts.

After the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Isand I went to wall street and saw the stock exchange and then I went to the excavation at the site of the world trade center. I wish I would have seen them before they were demolished. Exploring around downtown I came across a couple of guys with little stalls on the sidewalk selling pirated movies, but I didn't get anything even though I was tempted. It boggles my mind that there are these people making money from pirated movies selling them in the street not three blocks away from the NY stock exchange and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. The place is literally crawling with cops. There must be something more to it. Maybe the cops figure people like having these guys around. I don't know. Maybe they just don't care and have bigger fish to fry. You would think movie execs would get after them.

I have to admit that New York is the greatest city I've been to. It has everything and everyone. I can't imgaine a better place to live. The people don't seem as mean as they make them out to be on tv and in the movies and the traffic isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. In fact if you were to triple the number of cars on the road in Medicine Hat and make them all New York drivers, traffic in Medicine Hat would improve.