Monday, December 06, 2010

New Video of Natalie

I made a new video of Natalie for everyone to see. She is such a good baby, she sleeps most of the night and is very happy.

Natalie 3 Months from Gary Milner on Vimeo.



-Gary

Monday, November 08, 2010

First Anniversary

We just celebrated our first anniversary. This is a slideshow that I made for our party in Calgary. I'm not sure if I showed it to anyone else.

Be prepared, the slides go by about twice as fast as they should, because I packed in too many for the length of the song.

The last year has been fantastic.


-Gary

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 9th, The Best Day of My Life

Yesterday was the greatest day of my entire life. This is Natalie. In this picture she is 3 minutes old.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to School

The summer went very well. It was relaxing, but as always it would be nice to have two more weeks of it.

We finished our first school of the season the other day. It went very well, it was probably the smoothest first two days of shooting in the 4 years that I've been doing school photography. It seems crazy that I am starting my 5th year here. It sort of boggles my mind. I'm really enjoying my work. I am very glad to be back in the schools photographing again.

Melanie is doing very well, and the baby is coming along just fine. It is hard to believe that she will be here is about two more weeks. The baby's room is ready. Melanie did a fantastic job decorating it. I have to say that she will have the nicest room in the whole house when she gets here. I'm so excited for her to be here. I've been waiting 10 years for this day to finally arrive and while I know that the last two weeks will go by extremely fast, I can't help feeling that time is going by very slowly.

As I wrote in my last post, my istock photos are doing very well. This year I'm averaging $540 a month on it, and the summer is traditionally the slowest part of the year so things will probably be getting better for the last few months of the year. By the end of September I will probably have eclipsed my total from last year. I didn't get as much shooting in as I would have liked to over the summer, but I'm sure that I'll figure something out this fall. I imagine that I will be taking lots of pictures of the new baby.

-Gary

Monday, June 28, 2010

10000 Reasons to Kiss a Moose

Today I finally hit 10,000 downloads on istockphoto.com. I've been a member since March 2006 and let me tell you that 10,000 came a lot quicker than I would have guessed.

With those downloads comes my gold canister on istock which means that I will be getting a larger commission on my photo sales now and that I will be able to upload more photos at a time. Of the two, the money is the important one, I haven't been able to upload my limit since I hit silver and now there is practically no chance of doing it now that I'm a gold.

When I started uploading, the top levels seemed so far away, it didn't really seem possible that I could do it this quickly. Now it seems that I will make it to diamond in not much longer, with some work I'll be at the top level very quickly and with no more work, it is only a matter of time.

I'm still only making about a tenth of what I would like to be making, or maybe I should say a tenth of the amount I would feel comfortable quitting my day job with. I guess I should look at it from the perspective of that I'm making enough to take 2 months off next summer. Although I'll probably do neither of those two things even if I do make enough money to do that.

The reality of it is though, that a few times in the past, money I've made from istock has kept me out of trouble. When I got my appendix out, for example, I wouldn't have been able to pay my rent or eat because of the time I had to take off work. But with those handy istock payments coming in I was just fine. There have been other moments, but that was the biggest one for me.

I'm really happy with how it is working out so far.

-Gary

Friday, May 21, 2010

Family Update

We bought a house. We took possession of it May 14th and had most of our stuff moved in on the 15th. It is a beautiful little house. We both love it a lot. Slowly but surely over the last week, we have been getting our stuff sorted out. It is slow going, I don't remember having this much stuff in our old place but I guess it was all stored nicely. We still have a lot of miscellaneous stuff at the old place still. Mel's scrapbook room is still full and my computer room still has tons of random junk that seems to collect around computers, semi important stuff that is only important every 3-5 years but really great to have when you need it.

I spent 3 hours digging out the dandy lions on my new front lawn. I thought I had them all, but the next morning some new flowers had opened up letting me know that I had missed them the day before. Looking at the lawn, I wouldn't have expected it to take so long to dig them all up. I had figured an hour tops but boy was I way off.

I left gas in my lawn mower over the winter and that is super bad for small engines, so now I'm planning on taking out the carburetor and cleaning it out with dad's help although it seems like it might be a little beyond us both. I really don't want to buy a new lawn mower, but I might not have much choice. I wouldn't mind a lawn mower with a bag on the back of it, but still, I would rather have the money.

Work is going well, we'd love to have more grad formals than we do, but other than that it seems that people have ordered sooner this year than they did last year and on top of that we're getting the orders back to people faster than we did last year too. The pictures are looking better than ever, after a couple of grad seasons taking the photos goes more quickly and I felt a lot more confident in the studio. We have this information that we collect from the grads, basically to be able to connect them to their photos. One piece of information that we have is an email address. Unfortunately we told them that all we would use it for is to email them proofing information and then later to let them know that their order is ready. I really would like to use it for a third time to follow up with people that haven't ordered by the end of July. The boss really doesn't want to use the email addresses for a follow up because it isn't one of the things we said we would do. I remain tempted. The boss says that six or more years ago, they would phone all the people who hadn't ordered by the end of the summer to warn them that he was updating the price list at the end of August. I argued that a phone call is much more annoying than an email. Next year I'm changing the policy up front.

Last week, there were 7 streakers from one of the local high schools. The ran through the lobby of a hotel here in Medicine Hat and then through some portion of the mall. The local cops decided that it would be a matter best left to the school admins. I can't say that I disagree. In any case how it gets handled would vary wildly from school to school, on vice principal said at his school they would be out no questions asked. As it stands after a little community service and extra hours at the school the offenders still got to participate in their convocation ceremony. I didn't really understand the full impact of the situation until today I was photographing a kid from the same school and had to ask if he was one of the streakers. He said that no he wasn't and that everyone he meets asks him if he was one of the streakers. Every guy from the entire grad class must be getting bugged about that and I can only imagine how long it will continue.

Anyway, I guess that's my update for now.

-Gary Milner

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My First Photobook Sample

So I've been wanting to make a photo book in Indesign for the last little while. This is a sample from my first foray into actually making something with Indesign and learning a few of the tools and shortcut keys. Along with Indesign, I'm slowly learning a little more about Adobe Bridge, which seems more and more useful the more I use it.

Indesign makes doing the layout for a book so much more intuitive. As a photographer the two main design tools I use are Photoshop and a hammer, because if you can't photoshop it, smash it! Indesign is the right tool for doing layout. Period. You can do stuff like this in Photoshop and you can even get good and relatively fast at it, but it is nothing like doing the design with the proper tool.

Photoshop is for editing photos and Indesign is for making layouts. Even with a template, these 10 spreads would have taken a super long time. I'm pleased with them as a start into my life as a photo book designer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Driving Range

Melanie and I went to the driving range the other day. We had a pretty good time. Things are going along pretty well. We'll be moving into our new house in mid-May.

All the cap and gown photos went very well and we are starting up with grad formal photos right away. I'm enjoying my work. The other photographer is moving back east at the end of the month and so I'll be shooting alone for a few months, which will be nice.

My istock photos are doing pretty well, although for the next month or so I hope to sell a larger quantity of small photos rather than equivalent dollar value of large photos so that I can get my gold cannister and royalty bump that comes along with it.

I've been percolating ideas for shoots and models in my head for the last little while and I hope to get a few shoots in this summer. I'm told that it's pretty average to make a dollar a shot per month on istock and so I really need to get out and shoot so that I can build my portfolio faster. It feels like I have been stuck where I am for ages even after adding a bunch of photos last month and in January.

Anyway, things are going well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gary and Melanie

Things are going great. We're planning on buying a house soonish. We've been out to see six or so houses already, but finding something nice in our price range is turning out to be a little harder than we thought. I guess we are having a hard time finding something nice for only a little more than we are paying in rent is the hard thing. We could afford a semi-nice place with a mortgage that is a couple of hundred more than our rent.

My parents were honoured with a Metronome award for donating their musical talents in the community. The were the guests of honour at a award banquet and over 150 people turned up to help them celebrate. Jeff me and Melanie were the the three youngest people at the banquet followed by my uncle and parents. When they were calling tables to the buffet, the had the head table go then the friends and family of the head table. Then any diabetics. I wasn't sure if that was a joke or not, but apparently it wasn't.

Work is going well. We've finished three of the high schools and are about a third of the way through the last one.

-Gary

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Drive to Work


This is a time lapse video of my drive to work. Unfortunately my laptop ran out of batteries before I got all the way there.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Camera Control Pro 2.3

I recently got Nikon's Camera Control Pro 2.3 and after installing it kept getting the error "No camera was detected" even thought my Nikon d70s was connected and the folder structure was both visible and navigable. It turns out the the problem was that my camera's usb mode was set to mass storage rather than PTP mode.

The D70 connects to a computer via a USB port, as either a Mass Storage or PTP device. The PTP protocol allows Mac OS X and Windows to recognize the D70 as a camera, so it can launch camera-specific operating system software. Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) is an image data transfer protocol (like the TCP/IP protocol for the Internet) that is intended to do away with the need for special digital camera drivers.

The Mass Storage option lets the camera appear as a standard removable disk device. The Mass Storage option is almost always more convenient, since it doesn't force you through clunky downloading software, and is reportedly faster. You just have to remember to switch it when you want to shoot tethered to your computer.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Wedding

It was my two month anniversary yesterday. I've been thinking about what I want to write about it for a while now. It seems that I'm never going to be able to put my feelings into words.

Last year was a great year for me. I met Melanie, I had fun all summer long dating her and getting to know her. It was a summer of accelerated emotional healing for me. Melanie had a huge hand in that and then in the fall when I had life saving surgery Melanie spent hours in the hospital by my side, because she loves me.

She has turned the house into a home. She worked so hard to get all of her stuff set up and put away. She painted her scrapbook room. She's training me to keep the house clean. I love her. I hug her when she's standing still long enough for me to get close to her. She made a little scrap book for me as a wedding gift.

My heart aches from the moment she leaves for work in the morning until the moment I get home from work to see her in the evening.

I love her.