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.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The City So Nice, They Named it Twice

This morning I got up and left right away to go to midtown. I walked all the way through central park from north to south. I saw the Trump Tower. I went to the top of the Empire State Building, but only found it by chance. I was walking south on 8th ave and saw the Madison Square Garden and knew that it was on the same street as the Empire State Building. It cost $18 to go up. There was no line at all, and the wait for the elevator was very short. Shorter than waiting for the elevator here at the hostel and there are only 4 floors here. The view is good, the ESB is much taller than anything else in the city. I took lots of pictures.

I bought some new shoes and almost lost them twice before I even made it back to the hostel. First when I was going through security at the emipire state building. Then I stopped at a Burger king with an internet cafe for 5 minutes and left them under the computer. I made it four blocks before I realised that I didn't have my shoes. I ran all the way back and luckily they were still there. I went to a camera super store called B&H Photo and looked at all their stuff. It was pretty interesting.

I caught a subway back to the hostel after lunch, two slices of cheese pizza and a coke for $3. What a deal. Pizza by the slice seems to be the way to go. I downloaded my pictures, but was so tired from the walk that I didn't even look at them all and had to take a nap.

I probably shouldn't have had the nap because I woke up at about 8:30pm. I got my stuff to go out and when I got to the lobby I was ushered into the commen room to see the comedy show. The comedians were hit and miss for the most part. Some were sort of funny but it was a tough crowd. I don't think the comedians were actual professionals, but were mostly working on their acts. The international crowd didn't help much. Some crazy chinese guy just wouldn't stop asking the comedians questions. I don't know if he thought he was helping them or what but it was really bugging them. He went on and on right from the start of the night. Not many people were laughing except for me and some girl from Seattle. I was really cracking up a few times, but I don't think anyone else was. Laughing really ingraciates you to the comedians and so they didn't talk to me much. Which was good. The last guy was really rude. Really rude, and not very funny. I don't think he even did much if any of his material. Half of the crowd left before his show was even 1/4 of the way done. It is too bad he had to be that way because it seemed that he could be really funny if he had half a chance. Overall, it was a tough crowd because half of them were ESL and I don't think that many of the native english speakers understood a lot of the jokes. I got the feeling that they were beginner comedians and were mostly looking for a crowd to practice their acts. I've been to worse shows, but only one.

New York is a lot like a cross between Sydney and Hong Kong. It seems like the people are always looking to make a buck, working hard or hustling like in Hong Kong, but the buildings seem more like Sydney. The main difference is that there is much more cultural diversity here in New York. As cosmopolitan as Hong Kong and Sydney are, they don't hold a candle to New York when it comes to variety of people. In fact, all of the major world cities that I have been to are fairly homogenous. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney all don't seem like they have any variety of people at all. I think Tracie would love living here because of that. It seems like you can get anything you want here. I am really enjoying it here, but it would be better if I was travelling with someone.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Livin' La Guardia Loca

I landed at La Guardia Airport and bought a metcard for a week bus pass and rode the bus to the subway and then rode the subway to the hostel. The subway station is just one block west of the hostel. My hostel is just about at the north west corner of central park. The facade of the hostel is undergoing renovations, and the entire building is covered with scaffolding. My room is a 12 share, but I think it was only about half full. They seem to be pretty quiet. I dropped off all my stuff and headed down to Time Square on the subway. I took a few pictures and looked around a bit. I came back to the hostel to go to bed at about 11:00 pm.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

An incident at Raymond High School

When I was in the ninth grade I was friendly with the janitor of the highschool. One day I was visiting with him in the boiler room of the school. There were lots of electrical switches in the boiler room and I asked him what they were all for. He told me what they all controlled and he said whatever you do don't touch "that one right there" and he pointed to the one he meant. He told me that this switch will shut down the whole school and it would take days to get the school operational again.

Years went by and the janitor passed away.

Amazingly this left me as the only living soul in the world that had a knowledge of those switches. Then one day I was in the boiler room with a friend of mine. He said I wonder what these switches are for and I told him and I said what ever you do don't touch "that one".

Then one day all the lights and mechanical functions of the school ceased to function. This went on for two or three days and they had a team of electricians scouring the school to find the problem. In a chance meeting I had with the principal he told me that there must be a main switch in the school somewhere and they couldn't find it.

I told him I knew where the main switch was and I took him there and showed him. He couldn't believe his ears, and of course he wanted to know how I knew about it. He also wanted to know if anyone else knew about the switch and I said yes ; __________ knows about it but he wouldn't have touched it because I warned him about it.

Well, I was wrong. My friend was expelled from school. He finished his high school in Lethbridge at the L.C.I. Because he went to LCI he met and married a beautiful girl from Lethbridge. They soon had a baby and they were very young. They must not have had any money and the girl had been raised in a wealthy family. They were later divorced, so I assume that life for everybody concerned including the baby was probably hell.

This chain of events was set in motion years earlier when I was told about the light switch. Both my friend and his exwife are now remarried ....who knows, maybe more than once for all I know.....and to people they wouldn't be married to if it weren't for the chain of events I already mentioned. The baby wouldn't even be in existance and this means that things aren't going to be the way they would have been for thousands of people eventually.