Archive | photography

erasergirl rides again

I am still pretty busy in a good way, and i am not sure if that’s just the universe being nice to me, or is just what’s going on  inside my head. The wordpress plugin i bought to sync the woocommerce orders and inventory with quickbooks on my PC took at least 4 days for ME to configure. To be fair the support guys for the app, did all the work, i just whined and sent them screen grabs of what i broke and they told me what i did wrong. Mostly it was the mapping of the inventory from online to quickbooks….all the products had different skus and variations had to be tweaked to be their own products etc… it was tedious and still not done. But the big picture is that i am getting more adept at quickbooks that i have ever been in the last 10 years. There’s still vast chasms of it, that i have never even tried to understand and have always felt that i should. In the same way you know that if your pantry was labeled and organized your life would be a thousand percent better. But I figure i will figure it out when i get around to it.

So when i got sick of massaging the database and trying to get all of last years orders into quickbooks, I set up a little experiment I have been thinking about. I was wondering how the task of actually erasing could be filmed in an interesting way. Since all my digital cameras are in various states of disrepair I had to use the Iphone which does have a pretty decent camera if you can work the logistics. Using the cellpone tripod adapter i bought ages and and never used, and the gorilla pod i bought years ago and never used, i jerry-rigged a little workspace to shoot this video. Mind you I did have to flip the film 180 degrees, so it looks a little wonky.

Ideally i would like to go back to doing demonstration videos. In a new location, i will set up a camera and lighting in a permanent cat free spot.

here’s a very short section where i refresh the eraser edges so i can keep using it without smudging.  (Youtube is supposed to be adding music to it…but it’s slow)

adult supervision

racestart Adult Supervision…that’s what i wrote on Lawyer#4’s fee agreement. He laughed,  I was serious… that’s what i am paying for, a grownup who can see through my brother’s bullshit and call him on it and make sure i don’t get hoist by my own petard….or my brother’s petard for that matter.   (a petard is a bomb go google it.)   Tomorrow I will drop off the 100 I have made this weekend to pay for the consult, then the clock will really start ticking, i realize i will end up writing a 5 digit check, hell, i will be writing a lot of checks when i sell the house…. i have bills, some have dust on them, some are glowing red they are so hot to the touch. Another thing i need Lawyer4 to recommend is an accountant, left to my own devices we both know i could easily blow through 300K in weekend. I have no sense of money…and no sense of self preservation, i’m the person if i have 50 bucks and you need 50 bucks i will give it to you …because i know i can’t get by without the 50 bucks. I generally pay the bill in front of me, the one that is the crying baby in the crib, the ones that are lurking around the next corner, i try not to think about, it helps me get out of bed in the morning.

Yesterday was given over to rail trail stuff…it was supposed to be a big event day, but as is Methuen’s want, hardly anyone showed up besides those of us who who were throwing the damn thing. The city hall and the media only give our event a lukewarm amount of support…seriously they have no idea how to exploit the city’s resources. another thing i can’t really dwell on otherwise i start gnashing my teeth.


I tried shooting some pix, but after being dropped in the river (in its case) a few times and peed on by a cat once, the Fuji is an uncooperative camera to say the least. I really need to buy at least two different cameras and assorted lenses  when i sell the house…. I have stopped looking at home decorating items  like a drunken housewife…but i am giving myself free range to preshop for what i consider WORK items. Anything I use to WORK, or to generate money. Scanners, software, devices, and of course digital cameras. I have no choice i need a serious camera for serious work, i need to shoot higher resolution, in RAW format and have changable lenses. Submitting photos for stock photography always seemed like a good venue for me for more of what i call ‘passive agressive’ money. Along with shooting images i can submit to local news and use for publications. EVen just selling framed pictures would be an option. My best Methuen images are always in demand for me to give them for FREE for charity auctions, but sadly no one has wanted to pay me directly for my work. Though I have sold a couple of pix in the past to the newspaper.     I have gotten rid of nearly every other camera including the broken digital ones,  except ones i actually shoot with.  And I am picking out a pocket camera and a DLSR and lenses.

I think i finally decided on a particular flat pack kitchen table which seats 6-8…not that it will NEED to seat 6-8 that often, i really just want it that size so i can frame photographs comfortably.   But Harry and Danny’s parents (they are pictured) are threatening to be regular houseguests in my new place. Apparently Harry senior has a fascination with western Mass, but motel space can get a little pricey, so i told him to buy a Class-C camper and park it in my yard.  I had to make sure their threats were sincere.  I don’t want to be stuck with a cat free guest room and a tiki bar with no guests to look forward to.  The Class-C camper is of course so that the boys will have someplace of their own to stay… ….WHAT?!?


photoshop I told myself i would blog more…. i am trying to stay off facebook…i think i am expending all my creativity there – or maybe just blunting it as there is lots of stupid in the universe….lets see how long this lasts.

I admit I am not the most adept person with photoshop ever..this portrait was probably outside of my wheelhouse… i am more in the adjust contrast, remove dust motes and color correction camp. But I didn’t have a decent image of this late gentleman (town historian Ernie Mack) to add to a reprint of his book on the town. it was just a pamphlet from 1976 but the folks in the town treasure it, so i have permission to do a reprint. I will work out the hard bits later, it is one of three reprints I am doing where I don’t own the rights. But they are all going to be vended at an establishment that DOES own the rights, so i’m putting my back into them just like any other book.

IMHO minimal skills with photoshop elements is a must for anyone screwing around on the internet. I got my 1st photoshop years ago but for the last few years I have been using a version of their photoshop LITE…Elements..which was well worth the money… considering i got it free with my Epson Scanner, i think i made out like a bandit. I wish I was more adept at Photoshop or Creative Suite or whatever the hell Adobe is calling it these days.. But like all my other talents, I only learn how to do something by tasking a project on that forces me to learn it. And unless there is an actual outcome I just can’t sit and screw around with something…i’m just not that creative. My brain likes to say…”lets see if i can DO THIS.” and then reverse engineers the results. I wanted a nice black and white image of Ernie for the into of the book, and I got one… I am not sure the color version will look as good on the back of the book, but I can reduce it and frame it and make up for my sins. Until i got the original with the Capt in the background, all the shots we had were terribly low resolution. This will at least give the historians in town an image to slap on websites and such.


The next thing I want to buy if i EVER GET MONEY AGAIN that doesn’t have a predisposed destination.. is this new toy from the folks at lomo. It is a SMart Phone negative scanner.. I like shooting film..but i have stopped because it’s a pain in the ass to scan every negative with the large scanner just to get the 2 or 3 that i want to play with in Photoshop. My plan is to scan the negs with this puppy and then ONLY rescan the GOOD images with the PhotoScanner thus allowing me to get the pleasures of film and the power of Photoshop digital image handling. I can’t explain why I still like shooting film..perhaps it is because i buy shitty digital cameras and have never learned them well enough to produce the same images I can with film. perhaps it is just because I piss my money away on goofy toys like this instead of investing a much higher end camera that I will be afraid to break.

brick advertising

A friend asked me to shoot some architectural images today…i shot a lot of film on top of the digital, i still like film…i adore my film camera. deal with it. this is digital…my negatives will be back tomorrow. who’s in a rush?

when i get the film back it should have a few interesting animals

cheapass guide to publishing a book – First Fit

I ‘pulled the trigger’ on the WitchCraft at Andover book today. If I had my laptop back I would have gotten it done last week easy. In fact I think it was the fastest publication I have done. I was cruising through the 600 page parent book and found this chapter and said ‘hey, lets make a book with the word witchcraft in the title.’

I also pulled the trigger —— meaning the book is already uploaded and proofed on the website, i just made it LIVE, so it can be bought —— on the Abbot Academy Diary – that’s the one with all the embedded illustrations that was making me crazy…this time i just inserted them in the simplest way possible and it all worked fine. Sometimes i just need to get out of my way.

Among the things i have been meaning to do is detail the process. I need to do this for the book on non profits cheapass guide to the internet, so i may as well start with what i know. right?

Buckle up, I’m gonna write this in the simplest manner possible.

1 •  GET YOUR TEXT –  If you are writing it, then FINISH writing it before you start anything.    If  you have completed text, mazel tov.   If you are using something produced by running Optical Character or Voice Recognition software, you will need to go over that carefully and correct it against the ORIGINAL page.  FIND the Original Page..find a PDF, buy the book or get the book from the library, but don’t believe the machine!  Computers are STUPID, and don’t speak or read English, they are basically babies guessing about shapes. If you are transcribing something from another sources – don’t stop to edit, just type and get it on the page, otherwise you are going to get sick of it very fast.  Just keep typing and you will get it to a stage where it will be just like a computer created text file.


2 • PROOF READ YOUR TEXT –  even if it’s your own.  AND  if it’s YOUR text, have someone else proof it…someone who isn’t trying to please you. Someone who wants to find every mistake and shove it in your face….try an ex-significant other if you are still speaking, or someone who thinks they are smarter than you and that you have no business writing a book.  Just remember you are using them to get something you normally have to pay for, and they get to lord your mistakes over you in exchange.

If it is NOT your text, try not read it too closely before you proof read it, that way the words are still relatively fresh and new and you can read it slowly and carefully.  If you have already read it 8 times, your brain is sick of it and won’t see the missing commas.

USE MS WORD or the equivalent, use their stupid annoying spell check and grammar check and any other automated tool you can switch on.  Consider each suggestion one at a time, and make your own decisions, only globally change things when you are SURE of the outcome.  Like when you have been typing  “thier” instead of “their” all the way through.  Global change is a dangerous weapon and sometimes you can make a mess you can’t recover from…30 years of typing on machines with global replace, and i still don’t use it that much.


3 •  FIND YOUR COVER – look at book covers, which one make you pick them up and examine them? that’s the kind of cover you need. Bright Colors,  elegant illustrations, Clean Clear Type, the fewer words the better.  You don’t want to combine words with very busy illustrations, save your words for the back and the websites. Use your own photos or illustrations if you can, it will be unique, you own it and can shoot exactly what you need.  Get the dimensions from the website.  You should be able to make a simple cover and back cover files using Photoshop or any Image editing program. has a cover building application on the site, you can use their design, font and illustrations or you can use YOUR illustration with their design or your can upload YOUR front and back covers, or you can upload your own wrap around cover.  Chose your skill level, and RELAX, it can ALWAYS be changed, EVEN after it has been published YOU CAN CORRECT OR CHANGE nearly everything.  THIS is the benefit of this form of publishing.  

4. PREP YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS – Your images need to be 300 DPI to appear properly inside your book.  If you are scanning it from another sources, scan it HIGHER than you need, twice will be fine.  Then when you make your adjustments in Photoshop or your Image program, and you save it DOWN to the size you need and it will look better.   IF you are scanning images from a printed source…look closely…see those dots? those are HALF TONE DOTS and you have to really get rid of them before you can use the image. Because  the image will be broken down into MORE half tone dots when it goes to print and that looks AWFUL. So avoid using images recovered from other books unless they are very dense and you can make the half tone dots fade.  DON’T USE LOW RES IMAGES FROM THE INTERNET PERIOD – the online service will just keep flagging the image making you change it.    You can find LARGER Resolution images on the net but even if you save it at 300dpi, the image information just isn’t there.

5 • COMBINE THE WORDS AND THE IMAGES –  you can actually produce a decent book file with MS WORD, many many people do.  But any decent Layout software will do it better: MS Publisher, old faithful – Adobe Pagemaker, Adobe InDesign is the new expensive software.  You SHOULD save your file as a PDF with all the fonts embedded properly, the person who owns the software should already have it set up.  WORD should be able to do it, even if you PRINT to PDF as a selection.   But you can find online apps, that will let you upload files in several formats and convert them TO PDFs.  Portable Document Format is a universal and stable way to send files to other people.  Think of them like the manila folders of the internet.  You shove all the pieces in so they all stay together the way you want them to appear on the other side.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.  Wrapping the text around the illustrations is tricky, and unless you intend to do it a lot and get skilled, then don’t bother; don’t fear the white space around your illustrations.  The one book I have done with pen and ink illustrations wrapped by text was a pain in the ass, and in the end it looked better when I did less to it.    For the most part if you have a photo that’s one page or a half a page.

5.5 • MAKE BACKUPS – I usually have THREE going in case the computer or software crashes and corrupts the file I am working on.


what gods hath wrought

A kid who makes such things put up a video tour of the rail trail…this is the thing i spent the last 4 years of my life building.  Doesn’t look like much, but what was there when i started was weeds and steel.   There are still weeds but they aren’t in the middle of the trail.   It’s hard for me to enjoy it..even the video..all i see are the weeds and the little bits of trash out there.  and somewhere in the middle of the video is my big fat ass giving some nursing students the nickle tour because they are scheduling a cardio walking event on my trail.

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finally fixt

I had no business buying more crap, certainly not more crap for my iphone..but i got fed up with trying to shoot pictures, video or audio by propping the damn thing against something else. after examining all the options, i went with this one..IStabilizer – there are a couple extremely similar items on Amazon…between $8 to $16, well worth it. but unlike my Gorillapod,it will probably have to be replaced eventually. The thing works with a spring..but the control tab on the top is rubber…so you have to pull it to open a VERY tight spring? i’d say that’s going to last about 50 times then snap off. But it works. This is a picture from Amazon…my phone still wears its Otterbox case which increases its width on all sides, making it a tight fit, but that’s what we are going for here.
It should make shooting video a little easier..i have decided i am not fond of the photographs coming out of the phone AS ART…basically they are good for reference, but if i want a camera, i am reaching for a camera. Instagram be damned – that fucking thing is designed to make us satisfied with such shitty images.

But the video isn’t half bad – as long as you are only uploading it to the internet. if you hold the phone comfortably for end up with tall skinny instead of normal width video. this little tripod mount holds the phone sideways..which is an improvement.

Now i need a freaking valise for all the dohickeys i carry for my phone.



more iphone tricks

I haven’t PLAYED with my phone in a while…i spent a few hours blowing up my data plan on that weekend from hell. so i had to alter my plan until next month…and i have the feeling i may leave it that way..there are too many times i  have to worry about bumping the ceiling. we’ll see, right now i still have no idea where next months bill money  will come from. the census sent me a note saying try again in 6 months. yatta yatta yatta…

this image is a combination of about 4 different apps, though nearly ALL photo or social apps give you the option of accessing the camera FROM the app, I like to use the Camera+ app for shooting. then I used an app called PIC STITCH to create the triptych – it has a LOT more framing options….then i used an app called OVER to apply the captions. Then I opened it in INSTAGRAM and applied one of its shitty filters…i don’t GET instragram though i keep playing with it. The only conclusion i have ever come to is that people want to apply shitty filters to their shitty camera phone pictures so they can say ‘i meant to do that.’

I know it was a lot of work for what is essentially a throwaway image, but once i DO something i keep it in the back of my brain for when i actually NEED IT.

Another app I picked up recently is called POSTCARD ON THE RUN…i had tried a bunch of image to postcard methods last year, and this one seems to be a happy medium. The app is free, the cards are 1.49 full color bleed and shipped. you have half the back to add text, you can add SMELL for .50 which is odd. not bad. if you were somewhere and you bought and mailed one it would cost that.. IF one still sends cards.and if you just wanted to print a 4×6 snapshot it would cost about .39. I’m gonna keep all these apps on the phone – who knows i could go on vacation again.


video drone

I still have a few videos hanging around on my old youtube account… i don’t like any of them enough to migrate them. one of these days i will think about it, there has to be a way to migrate them from one acct to another and keep the view count. maybe not..but i did find a way to do it with my google blogger blogs, google docs and most recently with my analytics account..(obviously you add your new user as an admin, then go back and delete the original user)

I created a couple of videos about removing bandit signs and such and then shot this little minute of Corky being annoying. somewhere in my house i have an actual video camera…just like i have actual video editing software but its one of those things that since i don’t do it all the time, its too much effort to find the camera or install the software. kitten being cute, click the button on the what if it looks like hell..its cinema verité guys suck it up….

In the end i WOULD like to get better at it, I hadn’t uploaded anything to youtube in such a long time I never knew they had installed video editing app. Which made it much easier to do the 1st two. the kitten video was merely an experiment with adding music and annotations. each short video will be part of the learning curve. I fussed around with my youtube CHANNEL today… and discovered how i can avoid oversharing everything that i LIKE or FAVORITE with the world. I can’t think at this time how i can personally exploit it to make any money. But like everything else I learn how to use it JUST enough to solve a few problems.

The Wolf Adventure wildlife rescue has been rescuing animals left and right but they suck at self promotion, i have been nagging them to let me help. nothing is cuter than baby possums and squirrels, right? They have a chance to rescue another Wolf Hybrid coming up and I am trying my best to go on the pickup trip to shoot some video for youtube. that should be fun..not profitable for me..but fun none the less.

removing taped posters

I have been TRYING my best to start with the writing part of a book i am writing…i have been kicking ass with the research part..and sometimes i spend HOURS collating the research…meanwhile none of the hard part is getting done.   So I figured i would kick myself in the ass in a different manner.  last night i got out and tried video taping some of the crap that I have been doing….it’s a rather crappy tape… but not half bad for something i cobbled together with no planning, and no forethought.  I was a little miffed to find that my video editing software Studio 10  won’t edit what comes out of the iphone..for that i need to buy Studio 12….and since i can’t justify that expense…i used youtube’s free video editing software which for all it’s clunkyness…did an OK job gluing together all the little snippets i had shot. Few of the sections were over a minute so it’s rather wonky.  i Do have a video editor inside the iphone (there are a LOT of video editor apps) and if i had thought about it for more than a minute i would have used one of them before i ported the video out of the phone.  Once you pull it out it’s a bitch to get back in the bottle.  Like i said, next time i will try harder.  but it will be a while, i already pulled down all the bandit signs in town..and i draw the line at WISHING for a bandit sign.

I will go looking for a hands free solution to filming..the iphone also doesn’t like tripods.

IN case you were wondering this

I wanted one i could afford to lose and / or destroy..i still want a nice one..but you wouldn’t want to do to it, what i do to this one.

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