Saturday, April 10, 2010

Online Gallery and CafePress

I have made a change to where I host my photography, I decided to give ClusterShot a try. Why? I like the professional look and the watermark tool that comes with the Pro Account. The site looks professional, simple and easy to navigate (no print/print shop tie up though, something to consider if that is important to you). Storefront features are still a little bare bone at this juncture being a new site. The photographer sets the selling price and, hopefully ClusterShot do a lot of marketing and get pageviews and buyers to the site. For me, it is a place to showcase some of my work. On my part, the gallery links on my blog will help drive traffic to my storefront. I have only just joined, so this in some ways is still a test drive. So far so good, and yes, I closed my account at Smugmug (no major reason that prompted my decision but the simple look and feel of ClusterShot fits my need better).

If you want to check it out ClusterShot, here is a link to my ClusterShot gallery

Now, onto other avenues to sell one's work. I have had a store on CafePress for some time now, never gotten around to updating it with my latest images since setting it up. Occasionally there would be a sale or two here and there, nothing to shout about but it always puts a smile on my face each time. It is nice someone likes my photography enough to want to buy something with my photography on it:) Most folks found them through web searches, perhaps for a specific gift for someone or for themselves, a unique T-shirt, sweat shirt or a cotton tote bag (my favorite). Here are two of my own favorites:
CafePress link

I have always loved everything cotton, T's, totes. I find them comfortable and durable. This preference is probably rooted since childhood growing up in Southeast Asia. With day time temperature often in the high 90s if one is not standing in the shade, a cotton T-shirt keeps the sweltering heat at bay and one's body cool whether rain or shine. I recalled while we were on our sailboat anchoring in Bahia Santa Maria on the Baja coast, we exchanged some old T-shirts (we did not have any new ones barter) for 3 fresh gigantic lobsters from the Baja fishermen (they never tasted so good). So I am old fashioned, I treasure my comfy cotton t's until they are totally worn out. Also, cotton is a natural material, so it is more bio-degradeble and better for the environment than many man made synthetic material we clothe ourselves in today.

CafePress Link

Anyway, not to digress. Back to stock photography. Things have been a little tumultous of late, small sites getting acquired by the big guys and even smaller ones had disappeared as recession hit severely affecting demand for stock photos by the advertisers and web designers. Many saw their income from stock photography sites stagnant and some saw significant reduction. However, it is a good time to bury deep and perfect one's craft, tighten's one photography portfolio, by that I mean focus on a genre or two one excels in and be really good at it. Most important of all, I think enjoy doing photography. Used equipment have gotten much cheaper of late. I found myself acquiring an extra camera equipment or accessory here and there like in the case of the RB67 ProSD camera set for a mere $280. Finally it does not hurt to explore new avenues to sell one's photos, whether that is on CafePress, ImageKind, Etsy, Blurb, or a host of others.

Click here to go to my online gallery at ClusterShot

Last but not least, it is important to have a website/an online gallery to showcase one's work if one could find a reasonably priced deal. It all depends on your needs and the message you want to communicate, whether you do this for a living or as a hobby. In my case, ClusterShot works for me and so I decided to use the site to show my photography.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A memorable outing to Niles Canyon

It is that time of the year and work has me buried with no time left for photography. As such, I have only been able to run two rolls of 120 films through my new "used" RB67 Pro SD I bought in Feb. This past weekend I finally had the negs scanned by a "pro" lab so I could use them for my blog entry. I have to say I am not entirely happy with the resulting scan, the overall color seems off with a light blue hue to it. Since I won't be able to do any darkroom printing myself for a few more weeks, I will have to contend with using these scanned images for now. The negs do look 200% better on my lightbox.

Below are a few images from the second roll. It was a Neopan 400. What happeded to roll #1? Ah, that is an embarassing story, I messed it up. (and it was a Velvia! uugh!!) How? you ask. Simply, I loaded the film the wrong way, with the paperback facing the camera body. Not until I was removing the exposed film from the cassette did I realise I had made such a blunder! (silly me. It is easy to do though. The way the cassette comes apart for loading can be confusing first time around. Long story short, I learned my lesson and I will never do it again)

"stone statuette of a child playing at the park, entrance to Sunol city park, RB67 Pro SD, 95mm f/3.5, low res digital scan"

Did not have to work that day, sunday March 28th for a change, and I was looking for a new place to visit for photography. A good friend had told me about Niles Canyon a charming town of quaint saloon style storefront....It sounded rather promising and off I went, heading northeast early morning on 680N. Gorgeous oak studded hills and crisp fresh morning breeze greeted me as I drove on Niles Canyon road along Alameda Creek. Unfortunately there was no way I could pull over for photography as the 7 mile long winding country road was also rather narrow. Population of about 900, (I was told), Niles Canyon has one main street of beautifully restored saloon style shops (remember old westerns?), a beautiful church named "the Little Brown Church of Sunol" built in 1885, a small post office, a city park and a historic Sunol train depot (circa 1884). Nestled in the charming hideaway are many private homes, pied-à-terre for some perhaps and homes for others that I would be imagine are so inviting to come home or escape to on weekends.

"A man chatting with the crew of locomotive 2472 before the train set out on its 5 mile excursion. RB67 ProSD, 95mm f/3.5, Fuji Neopan 400, low res digital scan, Lightroom Beta Sepia filter"

As you can see, I got lucky :) The Sunday morning I was there happened to be the weekend of the first of three Golden Gate Railroad Museum excursions of 2010. Organized in partnership with the Pacific Locomotive Association, the Golden Gate Railroad Museum train ride takes families aboard vintage Southern Pacific locomotive No. 2472 through the beautiful canyon hills. Many families came to join the fun and kids got their history lesson. There were photographers from as far as Santa Cruz and it was a real treat for all.

"Crew of locomotive 2472, (a scene one could only find in the movies today perhaps?). RB67 ProSD, 95mm f/3.5 Fuji Neopan 400, low res digital scan, Lightroom Beta Aged Photo filter"

"Southern Pacific locomotive 2472, Canon 10D, Tamron 17-35"

Finally for all you steam engine enthusiasts, here is a link to Golden Gate Railroad Museum, one of the organizers of the March 27-28, 2010 excursions. Be sure to mark your calendar for the next family event.